BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — At some time or another, most of us have seen an alligator from a distance, usually in the water along the causeway or near one of Baldwin County’s bays or rivers.
“Generally, they’re not going to be a threat to people,” said Charles Epler with Wildlife Solutions.
But lately, alligators are getting displaced, causing concern on the Eastern Shore. Heavy rain and flooding in recent weeks are bringing some of the gators on land in places they’re not normally seen.
“They get pushed out. That heavy, torrential rain washes them out of where they’re at, and then they’re going to try and find somewhere else to set up shop,” Epler said.
Baby alligators have been reported in parking lots along the Causeway and along Highway 98 in Daphne. The city of Daphne posted to Facebook reminding everyone to keep their pets on a leash, especially if you’re close to any body of water. They’re reporting a large number of alligators in the city, and now they’re asking residents to beware. Epler is a wildlife expert familiar with alligators and he says the food source near the Jubilee City is abundant.
“About 83% of their diet in the wild is turtles. I think that’s why there’s so many over here in Daphne,” he said.
In Orange Beach, over the weekend a couple stumbled across an alligator on one of the bike trails. They say it’s their first encounter in 15 years. Epler says don’t provoke an alligator and if you see one don’t feed it. He also warns parents with small children to pay attention near the water’s edge.
“Alligators are an ambush predator. They will lay directly under the water’s surface and when you’re talking about our dark water around here they can be very hard to see even in a foot of water,” Epler said. “Look for signs of alligators. Look for slides, look for footprints. They’re far more scared of people than we are of them,” he continued.
If you spot an alligator on your property or on a public road, call the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Office (251-626-5474).