Massive alligator spotted in Croatan National Forest

POSTED: 12:58 PM Jul 17 2013   UPDATED: 4:04 PM Jul 17 2013
(img1)0717 mike hardison gator sot (1)

NewsChannel 12's camera rolled as a massive alligator made its way out of a pond in the Croatan National Forest.

Mike Hardison, a retired deputy who hunts in the forest, said the gator has been coming back to the same Craven County pond annually for the past five years. Hardison estimated the reptile to be at least 400 pounds when he showed the animal to NewsChannel 12 Wednesday morning.

NewsChannel 12's photographer said the alligator appeared to be at least 8 feet long.

Hardison does not want to give out the exact location of the animal, in order to protect it. He said the pond that the gator frequents in was dug by the Forest Service as a way to access water during wildfires.