JACKSONVILLE - Residents in a Jacksonville neighborhood are concerned after they spot an alligator in a nearby creek.
The gator was in Mill Creek just off of Henderson Drive, a few steps away from homes and businesses.
"They look like they're big enough to eat our kids," said nearby resident Cherish Douglas.
But Sergeant Charles Smith, from the Enforcement Division of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission says there's no cause for concern.
"All of Onslow County is alligator habitat," said Smith.
Smith has been on the job for 24 years patrolling the waters of Onslow and the surrounding counties.
"If you see a 10 foot alligator here, that alligator is probably 70 to 80 years-old," said Smith.
Alligators can be found in Eastern North Carolina from Wilmington to the North Carolina-Virginia border, according to Smith.
Smith says alligators don't migrate so the Mill Creek gator has been there a long time.
"He might move from one particular part of his range to another, but he's not going to leave that range," said Smith.
Smith advises residents to simply leave the gator alone.
The danger arises when people try to feed the alligators, according to Smith, because the animal then associates the human with food.
For this reason, Smith says it's unlawful to feed gators in NC.