Wildlife officials issue alligator precautions - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Wildlife officials issue alligator precautions

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Alligators are common in Mississippi and the incident in Orlando is raising concern here.

At Crystal Lake and other bodies of water in Mississippi, alligators are prevalent and experts want people to take some safety precautions before they head out on the water this summer

Officials warn families that a tragic incident can happen like the drowning death of a 2-year-old boy in Orlando.

"Make sure that you're keeping a closer eye on your kids, especially near water," said Pearl resident Mike Connor. "People drown all the time."

Officials, with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks, want everyone to be vigilant around water and other places alligators are known to hang out. 

Ricky Flynt, alligator program coordinator with the Mississippi Department Wildlife and Fisheries, says while alligator attacks are rare, these incidents can happen.

"The Pearl River swamp is right in the middle of downtown Jackson," Flynt said. "Lakeland Drive borders the Pearl River Swamp from one end to another and most people who commute in the city of Jackson, are commuting within 100 feet or so of an alligator, just about every day"

If you plan to go to places like the Ross Barnett Reservoir or local lakes and you spot a gator, Flynt says to keep your distance.

"They will absolutely avoid human activity in the wild, until humans get involved and start feeding alligators and create those type of problems," Flynt says. 

It is illegal to feed alligators in the state of Mississippi.

"An alligator will begin to associate human activity with a source of food, and that can be very dangerous, even deadly," Flynt said.

There hasn't been a confirmed alligator attack in Mississippi, but that doesn't mean you should take these precautions lightly.

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