Photos and videos of alligators in Lake Harding have brought safety into question over social media.  

While the sightings may have locals concerned, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says alligators have always been in the area.

Game Warden, Ethan Franklin says Harris County, Georgia was added to the alligator hunting zone last year.

“Alligators are a native species to the Chattahoochee River drainage, especially this far south- there’s a lot more toward Eufaula and Seminole but they do occasionally get up this far in the river chain.”

DNR says you will find alligators in Lake Harding and even in Lake Oliver; however, the population is less dense than other places.

“I don’t think our population is as good as say Lake Seminole and Lake Eufaula,” says Franklin.

Franklin says the population fluctuates, and DNR and game management monitor the populations.

The most important thing to remember is never feed an alligator.

“They can be dangerous, but most the time, not really, if you want to feed an alligator that’s when it becomes its most dangerous when it loses its fear of humans.”

Franklin says you’re still in the clear to enjoy activities on the water, and deep water areas are still considered mostly safe.

“There’s always variability in wildlife something that will be an exception to the rule, but for the most part, no, I think you’re good as far as deep water off in the middle of the lake. It’s close to those sloughs where you’re going to see the alligators.”

If you do come across an alligator, Franklin offers this advice.

“Just give them their space, don’t feed them, don’t try to catch them. Just let them have their space and treat them like all other wildlife. Respect them, and in turn give them their space and you should be fine.” 

If you live in area near the water, and an alligator is on your property to the point it is considered a nuisance, you can call a nuisance trapper. A professional will come out and remove the alligator from your property.