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Residents in Ascension Parish subdivision concerned over gator sightings

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ASCENSION PARISH - Neighborhood retention ponds have doubled as drainage management systems and entertainment for the homeowners in local subdivisions. But what's swimming below the surface has some residents concerned.

"We had heard there was an alligator in the lake so we had been watching for it," Richard Peak said.

Peak is one of the many neighbors who's spotted gators swimming in the man-made "lake" behind his home. He managed to snap a picture of the reptile poking its eyes up just above the water's edge.

"We called the Wildlife and Fisheries, and there is a case number to hopefully eliminate the possibility of a nuisance alligator injuring someone's child and possibly someone's pet," Peak said.

While filing a claim with LAWF was step one, neighbors have now begun adjusting their routines. These new, self-imposed rules include no swimming, no fishing, and no letting pets or children near the water.

"It's a relatively small alligator, but small alligators grow up to be big alligators," Peak said. "And if there is one alligator there could be more, so we just need to be prudent and careful that we don't make national news with an alligator attack on a small child."

Peak's gator sighting was a few weeks ago, but his neighbor snapped another picture of the animal Sunday morning, renewing concerns.

"We will just be happy when Wildlife and Fisheries picks it up and moves it to place it can grow into an adult," Peak said.

Until the gator is captured residents in the subdivision will remain cautious to ensure that these become nothing more.

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