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Gator finds unexpected home in front yard

NATCHEZ — He didn’t believe her at first, but seeing was believing last Tuesday at 85 Grove Acres.

And it took a little while before Leslie Floyd and company could turn their belief into action.

Floyd said Tuesday that he got a call from his mother-in-law that an alligator had taken up residence in their yard. Despite his initial disbelief, Floyd decided to examine the situation anyway.

“I went down there, and sure enough, he was lying there under the Magnolia tree,” Floyd said.

“We thought we’d call the local authorities, and three Adams County Sheriff’s Office vehicles showed up, along with the game warden.”

But despite greatly outnumbering the creature, Floyd said everyone hesitated for a while before trying to apprehend the alligator.

“Everyone just looked at it, and nobody knew what to do,” Floyd said. “Of course, he was just lying there asleep.

“Finally, I got a piece of rope and a stick, and when (the game warden) finally got the nerve, he got the noose around his mouth. After we wore him out, all 600 pounds of us got on top of him.”

The alligator was found on the property of Aubrey and Dorothy Price.

“Aubrey was going to the mailbox and he came to the door and said, ‘come quick there is an alligator,’” Dorothy said. “I didn’t believe him but I went out there, and there he was. I didn’t go out to where (Aubrey was).”

Price said the gator, approximated at 5 feet, was just lying under a tree in her yard. She said she thought it might have come from the pond across the street from their house.

Price said that they had quite a few onlookers passing by to take a look at the alligator.

Sheila Smith, conservation officer for Franklin County, said Adams County Game Warden Willie Wesley responded to the call, and Smith thinks the alligator was relocated to the Mississippi River after its capture.

Smith said that the Mississippi River is full of alligators and that sightings in Adams County are getting more frequent with the rising river.

“We usually get 10 to 12 calls a summer in Adams County,” Smith said. “I think (we’ve had) just two or three that I know of (this year), but it’s pickup up because of the rising water. More water in the river pushes them further in.”

Price hopes that her recent visitor will be her last, she said.

“I hope I don’t see anymore,” Price said.

Smith said if anyone sees a gator on his or her property they should leave it alone and get in touch with the Department of Wildlife at 1-800-BESMART.

“It’s going to happen because they go pretty much where they want,” Smith said. “Usually if they are in the yard they will keep moving, just keep dogs away from them and stuff. Just leave it alone, stay away and contact the department of wildlife.”