Alligator control in Louisiana
It all started with Steve Irwin, the “Crocodile Hunter”, making it look like fun to wrangle with alligators (or crocodiles in his case) on a daily basis. Now right here in Louisiana we have a hit show called Swamp People featuring families who catch alligators for a living.
The truth is that most of us will never catch an alligator ourselves, much less jump in the water with one. But here in south Louisiana alligators are everywhere, and they can be quite dangerous when they come in close contact with people, livestock or pets.
Important – It is illegal in the state of Louisiana to harass, kill or attempt to re-locate an alligator without proper permitting. If you have concerns about a nearby alligator, contact The State of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries office nearest you as the state is the ONLY organization that can legally remove an alligator.
What is a “nuisance” alligator?
Just because an alligator is in the area does not make them a “nuisance” alligator. In New Orleans we often live near the water or enjoy activities on the water such as boating and fishing and may eventually come in contact with alligators.
For an alligator to be classified a nuisance, it must meet the following criteria:
Nuisance alligators are usually over 4 foot long
- Alligators under 4 foot long tend to be naturally scared of humans and larger wildlife.
- Alligators under 4 foot long may be displaced from their nests during mating season by larger alligators and will move on quickly by itself within a week or two; thus not categorizing itself a nuisance.
Nuisance alligators display extra signs of confidence around humans
- Feeding alligators can increase their human contact and encourage their nuisance behavior.
- If an alligator hisses, it is a sign of defense – move back from the alligator immediately.
- If an alligator leaves water and walks directly to you – it is a nuisance alligator.
Nuisance alligators pose a threat to animals, pets and livestock
- Alligators are intrigued by any items which mimic their natural food source and are curious.
- If an alligator moves toward fishing equipment, boating equipment or an inanimate object in your area it may not be a nuisance alligator – simply move back or remove the item from view.
- If an alligator leaves water and moves directly toward you – it is a nuisance alligator.
Did you know about nuisance alligators?
- They are responsible for over 2,200 complaints to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries each year!
- They are often harvested or relocated to safer areas. Over 3,000 alligators are re-homed annually!
- They have a dedicated program committed to minimizing alligator and human conflicts.
Alligator safety tips
There are several key points to remember if you encounter an alligator, nuisance or otherwise:
- State Law prohibits the killing, harassing, molesting or any attempts to move alligators.
- State Law also prohibits the moving or keeping of alligators as pets or for other intentions.
If you encounter an alligator, please remember these ‘do not’ tips:
- Don’t allow small children to play in or around water unsupervised.
- Don’t swim at dusk or dawn as this is when alligators predominantly hunt.
- Don’t feed or entice alligators.
- Don’t leave meat or other food or fishing remains near water.
The best action you can take when dealing with an alligator is to call your nearest LDWF office. Local pest control companies such as Dial One Pest Control are not licensed or staffed to handle alligator removal.
Enjoy Louisiana wildlife – but safely!
So go on, get outside and enjoy the rich wildlife we are so lucky to have in south Louisiana! Feed the ducks, go fishing, go for a walk in the park, but if you come across an aggressive alligator make your first call to Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries!