Residents surprised to hear about gator's return
by Elsie Hodnett
Jan 19, 2011 | 1713 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Residents were surprised to hear reports of two alligators spotted in a Riverside slough.

“I was surprised to hear about it,” said Vanessa Mowery, who lives at River Bend Apartments.

Riverside police officers and officials from the Alabama Department of Conservation Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (formerly Game and Fish) searched the slough near River Bend Apartments Friday, after receiving a report that two alligators were spotted.

River Bend Apartments issued a letter to all residents Friday informing them of the alligator sighting and urging caution with children and pets. Residents were advised to stay away from the slough.

“If the letter hadn’t been on official letterhead, I would have thought it was a joke,” Mowery said.

Mowery, who moved to the apartments with her husband and dog in October, said she hadn’t heard about the alligator that was spotted in May.

Last May, an estimated 6-8 foot alligator appeared in the slough at Riverside Landing, then reappeared the next day in a slough near River Bend Apartments. Game and Fish officials attempted to capture the reptile, but were unsuccessful.

“I’m scared to walk down by the water,” Mowery said.

She said she now parks in a different location and walks a different way to her apartments.

“I also walk my dog in a different area,” she said.

Mowery said she has never seen an alligator outside the zoo, and doesn’t want to.

“I saw some kids throwing rocks in the lake and it concerned me,” she said.

Mowery said the kids were probably just curious, but wishes parents would keep their children clear of the water.

Demond Funderburg, who also lives at River Bend Apartments, said although he heard about the alligator being spotted last May, he didn’t see it.

“I heard about the two here,” he said. “I ain’t curious. I ain’t fixing to go looking for them.”

Funderburg said it would be nice to know the gators were captured.

“If I don’t go looking for them, maybe they won’t go looking for me,” he added.

Not all River Bend Apartments residents were concerned about the gators.

“I just moved here, and it’s the first I’ve heard of any alligators,” said Melinda Snead. “I’m not really concerned. I haven’t seen anything.”

Snead said she walks her dog in the same areas as before, sometimes close to the water.

Game officials urge residents not to feed alligators, so the reptiles do not become accustomed to humans. Residents should not attempt to capture the gator or antagonize it.

Anyone who sees an alligator should call the Alabama Department of Conservation Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries District 2 office 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 256-435-1642 or after hours call the game watch number at 1-800-272-4263.

Individuals may also call Central Dispatch at 205-884-3333 to report any alligator sightings.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

Post Your Stuff