Easy on the tanner, y'all!

By Meghan Overdeep
February 14, 2019
Orange Alligator
Credit: Twitter/USA Today

Somebody needs to tell South Carolina's alligators to lay off the self-tanner!

Exactly two years after an orange-hued gator from the Charleston area raised eyebrows all over the world, a Bluffton man has reported seeing not one, but two of the uniquely colored reptiles Sunday.

Chad Godwin told The Island Packet he saw the two orange alligators, each approximately for- to five-feet long, sunbathing next to a pond in the Cypress Ridge neighborhood.

Theories about how the reptiles acquired their Cheeto-like hue abound on social media. Some say the gators are Clemson Tigers super fans, while others have expressed concern that the unnatural-looking color is a sign of pollution.

According to experts, however, the real cause of their color change is actually quite simple.

"It's likely due to alligators hibernating somewhere near rust, like by an old drainage pipe," David Lucas, spokesperson for South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, told the Packet. "It's like if you stuck your hand in a bucket of rusty water where metal had been sitting for a while."

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Lucas added that it makes sense that these rusty gators seems to keep appearing around this time of year.

"February is typically when we start seeing alligators come out of hibernation for the first time," Lucas told the Packet. "They're not fully out of hibernation yet, but once they get away from the source of rust, the coloring will go back to normal."

Someone get those gators a bath! (Just kidding, please stay far away from them.)