ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP/WAVY) - A close encounter with a 7-foot alligator near the North Carolina-Virginia state line came as a shock to a family fishing on the Pasquotank River near South Mills.
A state wildlife resources agent said Wednesday the sighting indicates milder winters are enticing the massive reptiles farther north.
Laurie Duncan said she was fishing with her husband and 13-year-old daughter about five miles south of the state line Saturday when they noticed the alligator sunning itself on the riverbank.
"We were concerned for people's safety in the river and we wanted people to know that, yes there are alligators in our river and that obviously there is one big one," said Duncan.
Duncan said the reptile remained motionless for a while then slid into the water.
"I never thought I would see one, especially the size he was," Duncan continued.
Wildlife Resources agent Norman Watts said alligator habitats have crept slowly up the coast as average annual temperatures have risen.
Watts said alligators typically do not display aggressive behavior against humans unless a female with babies is disturbed.
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