Chapin woman finds alligator in backyard koi pond near Lake Murray

30 inch alligator found in Faircloth’s back yard. Photo provided.

Donna Faircloth has been a Chapin resident since 1972.  Her house on Jake Meetze Road is not lakefront property, although there are many houses nearby that are. Some people have claimed to see alligators in the lake over the years, although Faircloth said she had never seen one herself. But just two weeks ago, one particularly unexpected visitor appeared in her koi pond. She said she walked out to feed her fish around 2 p.m., and saw something floating upside down near the skimmer drain.

“I pretty much realized what he was when I saw him,” she said. “It’s not something you expect. We have never seen an alligator in the lake, but I have seen a picture.” She and her husband measured the length of the small gator, which was 30 inches.

Faircloth said she contacted the Department of Natural Resources to see if anyone would want to make note of her find, or dispose of the carcass. She said the representative told her that if it were larger, or in a roadway, they would come out to remove it. However, since it was so small, Faircloth said they were advised to bury it.

“I asked them, does this mean there are alligators in Lake Murray? And he said, ‘no we’re too cold here for alligators.’ I think that’s how they put it,” she said.

The koi pond is covered, so a large bird could not have dropped it in, according to Faircloth.  She believes it wandered into the pond, then was unable to get out due to the vertical walls.  “I figure there’s nothing for him to crawl up on and sun himself, so with the temperatures, he probably got too tired and cold, and drowned.  But of course I’m not sure, I’m not a professional.”

Faircloth took a picture of her find and shared it on Facebook, which prompted quite a discussion. Many of the comments come from people who claim to have seen gators in Lake Murray before, while others disagree. She said one comment claimed it could have been someone’s pet, and turned it out when it got too big.  “There were a lot of people saying he isn’t an alligator, or he is an alligator.   The color was odd, his scales were a light gray. But I suppose that could be because he was already dead in the water when I  found him,” she added.

The main reason Faircloth said she posted the image was just so people would know what she found. “My point was just to let everyone know, hey, this one ended up here,” she said.  “He had to come from somewhere.”

Categories: Chapin, Lexington County, Local Voices