Man Charged With 'Molesting' Alligator After Alarming Image Circles the Internet

A photo posted to Facebook by South Carolina's Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort is drawing attention online due to the dangerous, and strange, act it depicts.

In the picture, one man crouches near the ground and appears to drag a large alligator out of a body of water by its tail. Meanwhile, another person stands in the background, taking a photo of the man's antics.

The resort made a statement along with the photo:

"Fripp Island Resort would like to remind all of our residents, guests, and visitors that Fripp is a wildlife habitat. Harassment, enticement, or feeding of wildlife is both illegal and dangerous. We are sharing this incident in hopes that the violators will be found, not to encourage this behavior."

They also noted that the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) had been contacted and was investigating the photo.

Since the image was first shared on March 27, The State has reported that the man featured in the photo has been identified and will be charged for the crime.

Specifically, the man will be charged with "molesting an alligator"—a misdemeanor that can include a fine or up to 30 days in prison.

David Lucas, a spokesperson for the SCDNR, spoke out about the incident. "It's against the law and this guy is going to pay a pretty hefty price," he said. "But the safety issue is so much more serious than that. You could lose your life."

Hundreds of comments appeared under Fripp Island Resort's Facebook post, expressing shock and disappointment in the man's highly dangerous behavior.

"Not sure what that dude was thinking! That's a rather large one," noted one user.

"Oh my gosh! Like what is his plan? Did he lose his golf ball too?" asked another.

As the Fripp Island Resort noted in their post, harassing an alligator is "both illegal and highly dangerous"—and it's an action that often comes with dire consequences. Alligators are fast, volatile creatures that are known to attack when they're provoked—and even sometimes when they're not. Their attacks can cause serious injuries and even death.

Thankfully, no injuries have been reported in relation to this particular instance at the Fripp Island Resort. Ideally, this man's charges will serve as a lesson to future guests at the resort and discourage others from attempting the same behavior.

Alligator attacks can lead to grave injuries and even death. Joe Raedle/Getty Images