Dangerous reptiles move to SWGA - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dangerous reptiles move to SWGA

May 20, 2003

Dougherty County - Southwest Georgia has newcomers with sharp teeth, rough skin and a dangerous bite. On Tuesday, we got a large delivery of young adult alligators and their new home is at the Parks at Chehaw.

This isn't an ordinary delivery. Park employees yell, "We'll do this one first, how about that?" Piled in the back of the moving truck are 20, very much alive, alligators. Veterinarian, Dr. Ronnie Williams, says, "This is quite a truck load of alligators."

The six to seven foot long gators moved from sunny Florida to the relaxing pond at Chehaw. Dr. Williams explains, "They've had a long ride from St. Augustine, I'm sure they are a little car sick from that." It didn't take long for these reptiles to wake up. Their mouths were taped and eyes covered with a towel, but they were restless.

Before the gators were set free, a microchip was injected into their side. Dr. Williams explains, "Each animal has its own registration number. It's for identification."

The doctor even talked me into giving it a try. I asked, "It's not gonna hurt him? I don't want him back lashing." I injected the microchip into the gator and thought my job was complete, but Dr. Williams handed me a scanner. The scanner detects the microchip to make sure it worked. I finally heard a beep and quickly passed the scanner back to Dr. Williams. The things I do for this job and hopefully our paths will never cross again.

After all the commotion, the big guys were given the opportunity to explore their new southwest Georgia home.

Chehaw is expected to get two more gators from an alligator farm in Camilla. Eventually Chehaw will build a boardwalk, so you can see the gators too.

posted at 5:40PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com