MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — An 8-foot-long reptile created a little bit of a commotion for some residents in Madison on Wednesday, though officials emphasize it was never a threat.
The Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries‘ (AWFF) Marianne Gouldin confirmed with News 19 that their biologists participated in the safe capture and relocation of the alligator, who they said was “hanging out” near the Mountain Brook subdivision.
Kenny Johnson with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources told News 19 regarding another reptile sighting, “Alligators are found throughout the state.”
AWFF officials said this particular alligator, being so close to the road, posed a potential traffic hazard as drivers and neighbors began to gather.
“Because both the gator’s presence on heavily-traveled roads and area humans responding by slowing down for photos increases the risk of vehicular accidents, the decision was made to capture and relocate the animal,” explained Gouldin.
Biologists helped place humane, temporary restraints on the 8′ long alligator’s limbs and mouth before loading it into the back of a pickup truck for a “quick ride to a close waterway with a suitable habitat.”
Gouldin said the reptile was healthy, but did have an old, healed injury from a bladed arrow tip in its right lower jaw, indicating people illegally interacting with alligators in the area.
While it isn’t illegal to hunt alligators in Alabama, wildlife officials urge you to double-check the strict guidelines for your district. It’s also important to note that only residents and Lifetime License holders in Alabama ages 16 and older can apply for an Alligator Possession Tag.
“Other than as provided during its limited hunting season in other parts of the state,” Gouldin added, “it is unlawful to possess, take, capture, or kill, or attempt to possess, take, capture, or kill, any alligator. It is also illegal to feed or entice alligators.”
She also provided a general rule of thumb:
If you see an alligator, leave it alone. Do not attempt to move it, and do not approach it.
Wildlife and conservation officials remind the public that anyone can call to report the hurting, harassing, moving, or feeding of alligators to WFF at 1-800-272-GAME.