AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - UPDATE: Officials from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Divison have informed FOX 54 that the alligator in Lake Olmstead was caught and euthanized late Friday night, August 3. The alligator was a 9-foot 8-inch long male. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources reported that there is an alligator in Lake Olmstead.
Homeowners said they saw the gator multiple times in the past month, and they do not want it near their homes. Representatives from the DNR say it is common for alligators to be around the area.
I.B. Parnell, a wildlife biologist with DNR, said, "You may or may not see them every day, but we've got them in and around the Augusta area." DNR was made aware of the alligator on Monday, July 30. Parnell added, "Lake Olmstead is connected to the Augusta canal and is less than half a mile from the Savannah River, and it actually provides pretty good alligator habitat."
The vegetation around the lake added with the waterfowl, frogs and snakes make the lake the perfect spot for a gator to make its home. Locals who spend a lot of time in the lake say they're not surprised a gator is there. Justin Harrison said, "I've been swimming in the river for years now. I've seen an alligator once and it was like a four-footer." The gator in Lake Olmstead right now is much larger than what Harrison has seen before. Parnell said, "This alligator is estimated at 9 to 10 feet."
Learning that there is an alligator that size in the lake is something that does shock locals. Harrison said, "It's kind of shocking in a way, but I know it won't mess with anyone. Besides dogs, that's all I figured it'd probably mess with." Harrison isn't wrong. Parnell explained, "Over the seven-foot category, they're eating all that smaller stuff, but they can pick up larger prey items." Parnell said this gator is big enough to prey on small dogs, raccoons, and opossums, but that there is not a threat to humans.
"The alligator is not chasing them down it's not going to attack a kayak or try to get in the fishing boat or anything like that, but they are curious animals, so you're splashing around, it's likely it may come to see what's going on," said Parnell. He said people who are in the water need to stay aware of their surroundings, and if they do see it, to keep an eye on where it is and keep their distance.
Georgia DNR said they plan to send someone to the lake to get the gator out. They made that decision because it is so large and is not skittish around people. It could be a few weeks before it is removed.