COLUMBIA - Two South Carolina men were charged with harassing an alligator after forcing the creature to drink beer.
Joseph Andrew Floyd Jr., 20, and Zachary Lloyd Brown, 21, were on a public dirt road near the city of Hardeeville on Wednesday (May 24) when they saw the young alligator crossing the road.
The duo picked it up and poured beer down its throat before releasing it. It later swam away in a nearby pond, Floyd Jr. told state wildlife authorities.
The two men then uploaded photographs of their antics to social media.
Officers from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) started investigating after receiving multiple complaints from members of the public the next day.
"Wildlife conservation is a big part of what SCDNR officers do each day," said First Sergeant Earl Pope of the SCDNR.
"This case is a good example of why we strive to educate people about wildlife in hopes that they will respect it."
The two men were charged with harassing wildlife under South Carolina's alligator management legislation.
"Alligators are protected under state law and even federal law where they are still listed as threatened solely due to their similarity of appearance to other endangered crocodilians worldwide," said SCDNR alligator programme coordinator Jay Butfiloski.
The two men each face a maximum fine of US$300 (S$414).