6-foot alligator seen swimming off North Carolina coast

File photo.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
File photo. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Credit: Warren Little

Credit: Warren Little

Beachgoers were surprised to see a nearly 6-foot alligator Friday swimming about 20 feet off the coast of Oak Island.

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"We followed it about half a mile as it swam along the shoreline," Chuck McCullen, who was at the beach with his family, told the North Carolina News and Observer. "Occasionally, it would go under water and pop up about 10 feet away. Whenever it popped up, a few people would scream."

Oak Island police, who fielded calls about the wading reptile, were less impressed.

"I've been here 20-plus years, and they've been here every year," Maj. Tony Burke told the News and Observer. "It happens a couple times a year. They migrate across the dunes from freshwater ponds and marshy areas. Unless they're being aggressive toward animals or people, we don't do anything to them."