AP NEWS

Later Gator: Multiple north Alabama alligators seen recently

June 15, 2019

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — There have been several reports of alligators in north Alabama in recent weeks, including in the Tennessee River.

An alligator was recently spotted by a man walking on a county road in Lauderdale County, the sheriff’s office reported recently. The gator was safely relocated to another area, authorities said.

“This wasn’t the first alligator we’ve seen,” Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton told WAFF-TV .

A few years ago, a gator was found in a pasture in the east end of the county, Singleton said.

In Decatur, parks and recreation officials warned residents to be on alert after a gator was spotted near walking trails at Point Mallard State Park. The warning came after video of a gator swimming in that area was posted on Facebook.

Reports of sightings in the Tennessee River are not unprecedented.

In 1979, more than 50 alligators from Louisiana were dropped into remote parts of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. The relocation of those animals was part of an effort to expand their range, Al.com reported .

There have been sightings of gators in the Tennessee River dating back to 1894, but those animals might have been pets that escaped or were released by their owners.

In the 1930s through 1950s, people could buy baby alligators at many souvenir shops in Florida. Biologists suspect those gators were involved in many of the older alligator sightings, Al.com reported previously.

But the 56 gators released in 1979 are believed to be the reason the animals are now spotted along the Tennessee River, the news site reported.