May 6 (UPI) -- Beach patrol personnel in South Carolina rescued a an unusual swimmer in the ocean surf -- a small alligator.
Shore Beach Service said the alligator was spotted about 10 a.m. Friday in the surf near Marker 34, in front of the Sea Pines resort's beach club.
Mike Wagner, operations manager for the Shore Beach Service, said personnel and Sea Pines staff worked together to rescue the freshwater reptile from the salty ocean.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources spokesman Robert McCullough told the Hilton Head Island Packet that alligators aren't used to the ocean and saltwater "affects them negatively."
He said the salt can make the alligators ill and they are often docile when found on the beach due to the exposure.