Alligators are becoming more common across North Alabama, here’s what you should know

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala – If you’re one of the many people who moved to Huntsville recently, it might come as a surprise that we have alligators, lots of them. And they’ve been here for decades.

After a recent sighting at the greenway off Haysland Road in Huntsville, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says increased sightings can be attributed to any number of things.

John Wall saw the circulating Nextdoor post and hopes to one day see an alligator during one of his walks.

“The more wildlife, the more exciting for me to come over here and immerse myself in it,” said Wall.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says looking from a distance is fine.

“Absolutely leave it alone. Give it a wide berth. Don’t try to get closer to take photos,” said Marianne Hudson with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Hudson says generally alligators avoid human conflict, unlike crocodiles. Alligators have had a growing presence in North Alabama dating back to the 70’s when more than 50 were introduced to Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. The alligators can’t just be traced back to the refuge. It’s well understood that people have relocated alligators from the southern reaches of the state. The Tennessee River also makes it easy for them to navigate the region.

“Some areas it does get too cold for young alligators to survive. But older alligators are very well suited to withstand long periods of cold temperatures,” said Hudson.

Six months ago an alligator was found on Zeirdt road near Town Madison.

“Alligators can move long distances over land. It’s a common misconception that they are limited to water,” said Hudson.

If an alligator is causing problems, do not take it into your own hands.

“Anyone who has any concerns about an alligator that is on their property or in a nearby pond or waterway, please call one of our wildlife district offices. Talk to one of our biologist about whether or not there’s an issue that needs to be addressed as far as protecting human property or human safety,” said Hudson.

Alligators are a protected species in Alabama. While a limited number of hunting tags are offered in the southern portion of Alabama, it is illegal to kill alligators. It is dangerous to approach an alligator or try to move one. Call 9-1-1 immediately if the situation is urgent.

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