Here’s a twist on a joke you’ve probably heard before — why did the alligator cross the road? Probably to get from one marshy area off South Lumpkin Road to another on the other side. While it may be routine for the reptiles, one definitely caught local residents by surprise early Monday around midnight.
Otis Benning Hill shared a video of the sighting via Facebook live and the post has already gone viral with close to 700 shares. Experts at Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center tell News 3 the scaly neighbors are more common than many residents realize.
“This is their home. This whole area is full of wetlands that are their habitats,” says Program Director Lauren Johnson. “Alligators do a very good job of hiding from humans, staying camouflaged. There are people who probably walk past them every day and just don’t even know it.”
Johnson tells News 3’s Mikhaela Singleton the biggest concern nearby neighbors should be aware of is keeping food away from the predators.
“We have alligators [at Oxbow Meadows] that we can never release, they’re here for educational purposes, because they’ve come to relate us, the staff, with food,” she explains. “If you feed [wild alligators], the same thing, then you become their food source, and they will come back.”
Johnson also reminds everyone to avoid aggravating the dangerous reptiles.
“Stay away from it, do not go near them. They are powerful, and they can be deadly. Their mouth is their weapon,” she warns. “If it is in your yard, you can always call 911, call animal control, and see if they can help you, but the best thing to do is just to leave it alone.”
Experts further advise sympathetic citizens to avoid moving or touching injured wildlife, as it can do more harm than good. Find your local resources here:
- Columbus Animal Care and Control: 706-653-4512
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources: Game and Wildlife Management