Look out for migrating gators this summer
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A south Cairo couple recently discovered an uninvited guest taking a dip in their backyard swimming pool.
Lisa and Ken LeGette found a young alligator in their pool after returning home from church last Wednesday evening, June 23.
Mr. LeGette estimates that the creature measured about two feet long. The couple tried to fish the “persistent little fellow,” out of their pool, his wife says, but the creature evaded them and eventually climbed out on its own terms.
The gator was spotted the next day at a pond on their property, which backs up to Parker’s Mill Creek.
Mrs. LeGette says that gators have often taken up residence in their pond before, a common occurrence during drought season, but that none had ever ventured as far as the backyard swimming pool.
Many alligators migrate at this time of year in search of food or a new home, according to Georgia Department of Natural Resources (D.N.R.) regional law enforcement supervisor Capt. Rick Sellars.
“It’s a natural cycle,” says Sellars, who has caught several gators over the years in Grady County and the other 30 southwest Georgia counties he represents.
This year, a regional drought means that some local ponds have dried up, too, making the gators more mobile than usual.
The small gator found in the LeGette’s backyard is the county’s first alligator encounter of 2021 that Sellars, a Cairo resident, knows of.
If any other Grady County residents discover a gator on their property this migration season, the captain says they should not attempt to move or harm it.
Gators, especially smaller ones that prefer to eat frogs, bugs and crickets, are “not a danger unless someone tries to move it,” Sellars explains.
“Wait just a little bit and it will move on, especially the smaller ones,” he continued.
If the reptile refuses to move, citizens are to call the D.N.R.’s regional office for Game Management at (229) 430-4254 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Sellars says one of the agent trappers scattered around the counties with the Albany-based Wildlife Resources division will come pick it up.
Sightings of larger alligators should be reported to the D.N.R.’s “Ranger Hotline” at (800) 241-4113.