Alligator safety in Southwest Georgia

These alligators have been living at Chehaw Park for more than a decade. (Source: WALB)
These alligators have been living at Chehaw Park for more than a decade. (Source: WALB)
Chehaw Park is home to 22 alligators. (Source: WALB)
Chehaw Park is home to 22 alligators. (Source: WALB)
James Clyde saw an alligator near the Express Gas Station. (Source: WALB)
James Clyde saw an alligator near the Express Gas Station. (Source: WALB)
An alligator has been seen in off Highway 19 in Leesburg. (Source: WALB)
An alligator has been seen in off Highway 19 in Leesburg. (Source: WALB)
Ben Roberts is the Director of Animal Care at Chehaw Park. (Source: WALB)
Ben Roberts is the Director of Animal Care at Chehaw Park. (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Driving through Leesburg, it would not be uncommon to see a small alligator resting near the Express gas station on Highway 19.

For James Clyde, he saw the alligator on his way into work.

"I was walking to work and I was walking past the traffic light right there," said Clyde. "I just happened to look down and it was right there in my face, so I jumped back and I just grabbed my phone and started taking pictures of it."

People say the alligator has been in that spot for some time, but has never harmed anyone.

Clyde said when he saw him, he was lying peacefully.

Although alligators are dangerous creatures, the Director of Animal Care at Chehaw Park, Ben Roberts, said if you follow two simple rules will keep people safe.

"Don't swim with them. Don't feed them," said Roberts. "It's very simple."

He said they are smart creatures. They remember where you fed them and if they are fed once, they will come back for more.

"If you feed it and start messing with it, sooner or later, it may not be with,  but something bad is going to happen to someone," said Roberts.

The Chehaw Park Zoo is home to 22 alligators. Roberts said they have been captive and trained for more than a decade.

"Ours aren't wild alligators" said Roberts. "Ours are fat, dumb and happy."

Roberts said what happened in Orlando was a very rare occurrence.

He said if you follow the rules you should be safe.

Because just like any wild animal, if you don't bother them, they won't bother you.

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