Facts on Alligators and Reporting 

By Amber Capps and Lynn Lewis - (amberc@landings.org and lynnl@landings.org) 

Springtime and warmer weather tend to bring alligators out of the lagoons and onto the lagoon banks. They are especially noticeable now as more people are spending time outside during the quarantine and stay-at-home order. For the most part, alligators will leave you alone. However, they are large, wild animals and for your safety, they are never to be fed nor should you get too close to one. 

According to USDA Wildlife Biologist Jonathan Smith, alligators that have been fed lose their fear of people. These alligators eventually will need to be destroyed because of their lack of fear. In fact, in some states, including Georgia, it is illegal to feed alligators. This crime is punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. 

The alligators, like all wild animals are regulated and managed by the State of Georgia. When The Landings Association receives a call about an alligator sighting, staff call the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to provide them with the size of the alligator, the location, and the lagoon number in which the alligator was sighted. From there, the DNR issues a permit for the removal of the gator and notifies a state-licensed trapper. Only a state-licensed trapper is authorized to remove an alligator from a lagoon or other common property. 

Although The Landings Association reports alligator sightings reported by residents to the DNR, the authority for removal lies with the state-licensed trapper. 

Typically, an alligator is removed from a lagoon if it is more than seven feet in length and/or is showing signs of aggressive behavior. Alligators fewer than four feet in length are not removed but can be relocated at the discretion of the state-licensed trapper. 

The best way to live peacefully among these animals and to avoid an alligator attack is to use caution and common sense. The following are a few tips to remember: 

  • Don’t feed alligators or attempt to pet them. 

  • According to The Landings’ Rules and Regulations, residents, visitors, and guests may not swim or boat in the lagoons. Make sure your children and other friends that may be visiting know this as well. 

  • Stay close to your dogs and animals, keeping an eye out for trouble. 

  • Don’t take your dog running along the grassy edge of a lake or lagoon. Do not allow pets to drink from or swim near waters that may contain alligators. 

  • If you come upon an alligator, back away slowly. While it is rare for wild alligators to chase people, they can run up to 35 miles per hour for short distances on land. 

  • Do not attempt to move alligators that are in the roadway or on cart paths. Please call the Security Department instead. Alligators are territorial and often will exhibit aggressive behavior when they are threatened. 

  • Mama alligators will protect their young for the first two years of their babies’ lives. 

  • Share your knowledge of alligators with others to contribute to public safety, and to promote a greater appreciation and understanding of these animals.