DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) – Crews in Dare County had to use a machine to remove an alligator that had been hit by a vehicle near Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Sunday night.
According to Jay Eddy, a Wildlife Officer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the alligator was killed just before midnight along Highway 64 between Milltail Road and Creef Cut.
A family of tourists leaving Dare County in a minivan hit the gator. WAVY.com obtained the 911 call made after the accident.
“We hit an alligator about three miles back,” said the female caller. “The alligator does not appear to be on the road anymore. We have significant damage to the front end of our car, but we’re still able to drive.”
The caller said the gator was lying across the lanes and the driver tried to swerve, but hit the gator’s head.
It was moved from the highway and stored on the refuge until Refuge Biologist Dennis Stewart and NC Wildlife Resources Commission District Biologist Chris Turner could evaluate it.
The gator measured 11′ 11.75″ and weighed 672 pounds, which was slightly less than initial estimates.
FWS officials said the alligator was one of the largest in the refuge, and for many years, one of that size had been seen regularly in a canal near the crash site during May and early June.
In fact, locals told WAVY.com they nicknamed the large gator “Cheeseburger,” after its favorite food. The gator was first spotted swimming near the wildlife refuge about five years ago.
But Stewart said there’s no way to confirm if the gator that died is “Cheeseburger.”
“It wasn’t tagged or marked in any way, so we’ll just have to watch and see,” he said. “This alligator was a male. The age of any alligator is difficult to estimate. A femur was removed that will be examined for an estimation of age at a later time.”
WAVY obtained a copy of the 911 call the driver made after hitting the alligator. Click here to listen to the call: