See you later, alligator

Published 12:21 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2023

LAKE LINCOLN — A head and body of an alligator surfaced on the water at Lake Lincoln State Park Saturday while anglers, including this reporter, tried to fish on a warm sunny day. The state park is no stranger to alligators as the silent reptiles cruise around the lake and can be found in most waterways south of US82. 

Alligators are common in Lincoln county according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Park’s brochure on Alligator Awareness. The summer time is a period of increased alligator activity. 

It is also the time of year when juvenile alligators start to disperse into new areas according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. During the dispersal, they occasionally find themselves in locations near human development such as pools and yards. April and May are also a time when alligators start to move to breed. 

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According to MDWFP’s Alligator awareness pamphlet, “Alligators will often travel long distances from den sites after emerging in the spring to search for food and mates, and young alligators disperse in search of new territory.. This time period (April-June) is when the MDWFP receives the most nuisance complaint calls. Juvenile males (4-7 feet long) may travel significant distances to disperse into territories not occupied by other adult males, who are very territorial during the breeding season.” 

Brookhaven Academy had an alligator get on its softball practice field last summer following heavy rain. MDWFP warns the public it is illegal and very dangerous for the public to attempt to remove, capture or kill an alligator without a special permit from the MDWFP. People can report nuisance alligators to the MDWFP alligator program online or by calling the regional office. 

Alligators are large, stealthy predators who can be very dangerous. Humans should treat them with caution and exercise caution in areas known to have alligators. MDWFP has a list of ways humans can be safe in alligator areas. 

  • Observe alligators from a safe distance
  • Never harass or tease an alligator
  •  Never intentionally feed alligators
  •  Discourage others from feeding alligators
  • Don’t discard fish parts in or near water
  • Don’t discard wasted food in or near water
  •  Avoid regularly feeding of fish or use of fish feeders
  •  Never swim at night
  • Never allow small children or pets to swim/wade near alligators 
  • Never approach an alligator nest
  • Never attempt to catch an alligator