Drought driving alligators onto private property
ZACHARY- Wildlife and Fisheries agents say calls are way up reporting alligators in places they don't belong.
They say that's because of the drought and high temperatures. And for people making the calls, it's an adventure they hope happens only once.
"I look out the window and I'm going, 'that stick just moved,'" said Tonja Myles, "So we went and got our binoculars and my husband said, 'yep, it's a gator.'"
Besides the obvious concern, a large reptile slithering around the private pond, Myles is worried about her chickens, ducks and horses, along with simply walking out of the house.
She said, "I love guests but this one is totally unwanted."
And while the Myles' have no idea how this alligator invited itself to their property, Wildlife and Fisheries has a good idea.
Wildlife and Fisheries Biologist Buddy Baker said, "It's not uncommon at all during extreme drought situations. We commonly see alligator habitats dry up and the alligators of course have no option but to move and find new habitat."
But the Myles' pond is not the only place they're popping up.
"We've got a high rate of highway kill gators right now," said Baker, "We've got a high rate of alligators showing up in places the they don't normally show up and like I said they're searching for habitat."
And as long as there's an alligator using the Myles pond for its new pad, they'll be on the lookout.
Agents say most of the alligators that wander into private ponds and property are just passing through on the way to a new habitat. But if there's food for them to find, they'll stay there until there isn't any.