Do’s and Don’ts for Alligator Encounters in Louisiana
Louisiana people are very familiar with alligators. We should be because according to stereotypes we all live in a house on stilts with a swamp for a front yard and we take a boat to school, right? While that depiction of life in Louisiana is not really accurate, the fact of the matter is, we do have alligators and sometimes they cross our paths. Or, is it we cross theirs actually?
The past few days have brought reports of alligator encounters in places other than swamps. You might recall the story about this monster gator that was seen cruising on a roadway near a casino in Lake Charles. And that's just one of many alligator encounters we've shared with you over the years.
Still, the question begs to be answered, what exactly do you do if you encounter an alligator in a place that isn't the creature's natural habitat? For the answer to that question, we looked to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. And as luck would have it, they have a whole web page dedicated to "what to do if you encounter an alligator". So, it must happen more often than we suspected.
The first bit of advice the LDWF has to offer is one you should have figured out on your own, leave the alligator alone. Alligators despite their size and strength have a natural fear of humans. They would rather move away from you as you are moving away from them. Of course, there are exceptions, especially if you're on or in the water. Then you're playing on the 'gator's "home turf".
The second thing you need to do is stop taking videos of the creature with your phone and use your phone to place a call. Depending on which part of the state you are in, you'll have a different number to dial. Here is a list of those numbers for the entire state. But in Lafayette, you'd dial 337.262.2080. In Lake Charles, you'll dial 337.491.2575. Or you can also dial this toll-free number from anywhere in the state 1-800-442-2511 that number works best for after-hours or weekend alligator encounters.
Once you've made the call you'll be given further instructions on which Nuisance Alligator Hunter you'll need to call. However, we should note that just because you spotted a 'gator doesn't mean it's a nuisance gator. These calls are for when you encounter one of the large reptiles in a populated area or an area where children, pets, or others could be injured by the animal or the animal itself could be in peril of injury.
In addition to the location and surroundings of where the alligator was spotted the hunter will also want to know how large the creature is. Alligators that are under four feet in length are usually not a problem but those larger than four feet could pose an issue for livestock, children, and pets. So, you certainly want to call about those.
It's also important to respect these creatures. The alligator is a vital part of Louisiana's wetlands ecosystem. If you harass, injure, or kill them you're messing with an important link in what makes Louisiana's outdoors so incredible. For more information on alligators and what to do if you encounter one, check out this page full of tips from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife.
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