Giant alligator captured at Liberty Park in Flowood

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:42 PM CDT
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FLOWOOD, Miss. (WLBT) - It was a startling sight for families at Liberty Park in Flowood when a giant alligator crawled out of the woods on Tuesday.

All the action happening on the soccer fields came to a screeching halt when a 10-foot alligator stopped by to check out practice.

“It’s pretty normal for the City of Flowood,” said Flowood Animal Control Officer Kelon Dodill.

But the sight of a giant alligator wasn’t the norm for International Futbol Club of Mississippi soccer players and their parents. As the teams roamed the field the giant reptile was calmly watching them. Cellphones whipped out to record the gator and call for help.

“They said it was a pretty good-sized one,” said the alligator expert. “So I responded.”

This isn’t a first for the Flowood Animal Control officer who was summoned to wrangle the gator. Joining him was Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Agent Cory Hunt.

“I will call him sometimes on the larger alligators you know because it takes some experience when you’re fooling with an alligator of that size,” said Dodill. “I’ve actually caught about three or four at this park in the last two or three years. None of that size though. He’s the biggest one I’ve caught.”

Dodill, a former Sunflower County game warden, believes the 10-footer crawled from the swamp beyond the tree line north of the soccer fields.

Players found it exciting to see the team snare, tape, and tie down the creature. Dodill wrangles about 50 to 60 alligators each year in the city that live in tributaries and creeks along the Pearl River.

“Don’t approach it. Definitely don’t try to catch it,” advises Dodill. “Just leave it alone. Back out and call us.”

In about 15 minutes, the gator was safely captured.

“It’s just another day at the office,” added the alligator wrangler.

It was transported to a refuge outside the county.

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