Breeding season brings gators to residential areas

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 15, 2018

It is currently the breeding season for alligators in Southern Mississippi, which means the large reptiles may be seen more often in urban environments as they search for a mate.

According to an article by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, late spring and early summer marks the breeding season for American alligators. Females typically build nests and lay eggs in June and July.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

According to coverage by the Clarion Ledger, the MDWFP recently received a large number of calls about alligators being found on roads or in residential properties.

During these peak months, the article by MDWFP states the department sometimes receives six to eight calls per day from residents in counties with high alligator populations.

Assistant Chief of Police Jeremy Magri said the Picayune Police Department regularly receives calls about nuisance alligators this time of year. He said it is very common to receive calls about the animals being found in residential areas and ditches. He said the department’s animal control has not been sent to catch any recently, but they have caught numerous alligators in the past.

Just three years ago Magri said he received a call about an 11-foot alligator sunning on Palestine Road, blocking traffic. He said when he arrived to the area, the alligator had moved into the woods and was laying on the bank of a small pond. He said it was so big, a game warden had to be called and a trapping crew brought in to remove the reptile.

Magri said in his spare time, he often goes boating on local rivers and sees alligators almost every time. One night while navigating his boat back to Walkiah Bluff from Pulls Bluff near Bogalusa, he passed at least 28 alligators across a 20-mile stretch.

Magri said if a group of people are at the river together, or if a person is listening to loud music, alligators will usually swim away.

“Most will go away from you. I don’t know anyone that has been attacked swimming at any of the sand bars,” he said.

While alligators will usually avoid humans – especially if they are under eight-feet, if anyone is in an area where alligators are common, several steps can be taken to avoid an encounter. According to an article by the MDWFP, it is important to never feed an alligator, since it can entice them into residential and urban areas more often. Do not swim in waters that may be full of alligators at night, and never approach an alligator nest, the article states.