Alligators in Alabama: What you need to know to stay safe

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — People living near a popular spot to catch a glimpse of an alligator living in a swamp off County Road 508 in Hanceville remain cautious following the alligator attack on a young child in Orlando.

Jim Kaple lives on CR 508. He likes to walk and see if he can spot the gator in the swamp that’s not too far from the American Protein Plant.

“What he does is he lays on the beaver hutch right there,” said Kaple. Kaple has also taken his grandson to see the alligator. Tyler White said they are always careful.

“Just keep your distance, that’s about it,” said White.

Kaple said the gator has become kind of a celebrity in the area, with people pulling over and trying to snap a picture.

“They watch crocodile hunter on TV and he is in Australia, and this is right here at home. They have a real interest in coming here and checking him out,” said Kaple.

Kaple said it’s been a few weeks since he’s seen the alligator.

“He is so popular here. People are stopping and looking at him, he’s become real man shy and he is hard to see,” said Kaple. There are signs in the area warning folks not to trespass and no hunting, but nothing about the alligator or swamp specifically.

A spokesperson with the Alabama Department of Conservation said that normally alligators don’t pose a threat to humans. They remind people to leave the reptile alone and not to feed them.

Despite what we may think alligators are not picky about what they ear, especially when they’re hungry.

“Seeing any large animal wading on the shore, whatever, they’re probably not going to take too much time to differentiate between whatever it is. They’ll eat a lot of different things,” Birmingham Zoo zoological reptile manager Dan Self said. “They eat raccoons, they eat beaver, they eat fish if they can catch fish, wading birds and everything so they don’t discriminate.”

Although they seem slow, alligators can run pretty fast when they are on land. Experts say it’s best to stay as far away from them as possible, because you never know what they’re going to do.

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