By Matthew Woody
Watching a nature special on the Discovery Channel, you could potentially see an alligator looming in a river as a gazelle drinks from its bank. When without notice, the alligator leaps from the water, chomping onto the gazelle, and pulling it into the water, never to be seen again.
These are the images that sometimes come to mind when thinking about those reptilian creatures. However, in Georgia, alligators are statistically not very dangerous.
“From 1980 to May 2006, there only have been eight reported cases of alligator attacks on humans in Georgia,” according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resource Division. “There have been no fatalities. Six of these incidents happened as a result of the human stepping on or otherwise contacting a submerged alligator. The remaining two incidents were a result of the alligator mistaking the human for prey.”
Major Stephen Adams with the DNR Law Enforcement Division said that he only knew of one Georgia case where an alligator killed a person and that was because the person was squatting next to a river, and the alligator mistook the person for food.
He said that alligators are not aggressive towards humans; they will not chase you. But if you feel that your life is threatened, Adams said, you have the right to protect your life. Keep in mind that the DNR also has the right to investigate the incident, and if found guilty of poaching, you will be charged with a misdemeanor.
If an alligator is seen on private property, the DNR recommends contact the agency — (800) 241-4113 — so the animal can be removed by a licensed nuisance alligator agent-trapper. More....