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Field observations of the American alligator were made incidental to a five-year study of the nursery use of Dutchman Creek estuary, near Southport, by estuarine dependent fishes and shell fishes. Alligators were most frequently seen between April and July and occurred over a wide range of salinities. Some individuals that inhabited the lower reaches of the estuary appeared to have shifted their distribution in response to a major alteration of this habitat.
North Carolina is one of nine states where the American alligator roams, and its habitat in the swampy areas near the coast is the limit of its northern range. Its average size is eight to ten feet. North Carolina's largest living alligator measures thirteen feet and lives in the swamps of Carteret County. These creatures are extremely shy and prefer the wild areas far away from humans.