Gator spotted in Lake Olmstead

Gator spotted in Lake Olmstead

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - An alligator spotted in Lake Olmstead a few days ago has a few people talking.

"It was an interesting experience for me being German because in Germany we don't have those dangerous animals," said Sissi Burthardt who is visiting a friend in Augusta.

Burthardt said she was sunbathing when she saw the reptile in the lake.

"I looked at the lake and suddenly I saw him," Burthardt said. "He was like a little teenager and he came slowly but surely closer and closer to my sun bathing place and I watched him because it was interesting to me to see how he looked."

Burthardt said she was surprised to see it but the gator seemed harmless.

"The head came out of the water. I tell you, it was a really big animal," Burthardt recalled. "It swam quietly, not hurting me or anything."

Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus says this sighting isn't uncommon.

"We are going to see and probably more so in the future alligators in more urban areas," Bonitatibus said. "Maybe they've been there the whole time and they're just now hanging out more in our waterways, which is great."

Bonitatibus does warn, however, the dangers of feeding the alligators.

"A fed gator is a dead gator," said Bonitatibus. "Don't feed these guys when you see them because they learn to associate humans with food and that's not what we want. We want the opposite and right now these gators are scare of humans and they need to stay that way."

Bonitatibus also said alligators are important for the ecosystem and very good to have around.

She said if you feel the alligator you encounter is dangerous, you should report it.

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