DNR sees uptick in calls for alligators

DNR sees uptick in calls for alligators
Female alligator captured in Thomas County to be released in Dougherty County (Source: WALB)
Brent Howze, Wildlife Biologist, DNR (Source: WALB)
Brent Howze, Wildlife Biologist, DNR (Source: WALB)
Howze illustrates how this six foot gator can only open his mouth so wide (Source: WALB)
Howze illustrates how this six foot gator can only open his mouth so wide (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Alligators are looking for love.

And the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division in Albany, said it's been receiving many calls about gators on the prowl.

Wildlife experts with the DNR say alligator mating season is between April and May.

And they say they've had about 10 calls a week.

"Most people are fairly frightened of an alligator and that's probably a good reaction to have," explained Brent Howze, DNR Wildlife Biologist.

Howze said with recent rains, there can be bodies of runoff water alligators like to travel to.

Howze said DNR biologists have even been seeing are male alligators moving from pond to pond.

"Our phones ringing mostly off the hook," said Howze, "People are seeing them in their yards, in a pond, so this time of year especially with these heavy recent rainfalls, alligators have definitely been on the move."

Sometimes the large alligators compete with the small ones, pushing the smaller ones to a new place.

Now if you see an alligator, the DNR said they can give technical guidance on how to deal with the problem, or the DNR will go handle some alligators themselves.

"You certainly don't want to jump on top of this thing, and think that you're going to wrestle it," explained Howze.

If it's over 10 feet, Howze said the DNR can give a nuisance trapper a permit to go out and catch the gator.

"If the alligator is just being an alligator and just existing; they just see one and he's being an alligator, it's best just to leave him alone."

So far this year, Howze said they've tagged and released between a dozen and two dozen alligators, a lot more than biologists had expected.

Howze said after mating season comes nesting season, so in the next month, there should be less alligator movement.

If you encounter an alligator that is staying a little longer than it should, you can call the DNR at 229-430-4254.

Copyright 2018 WALB. All rights reserved.