Living with Moody's alligators and snakes

  • Published
  • By Michael Burton
  • 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron environmental office
It is that time of year again. As the days are warming up and more folks are finding outdoor activities to do, the age-old competition between man and wildlife resumes.

On Moody, that means the alligators will be finding new places to hang out, snakes will be "sunning" and encounters are more likely during daily activities.

In addition to being safe and having fun, common sense and caution should be taken when outdoors this time of the year.

Most Georgia species of reptiles and amphibians are harmless to humans and even those capable of causing injury do so only in self-defense.

Alligator attacks are very rare. There have only been a handful of attacks within the past 50 years and those were caused by alligators that had been fed by humans and had lost their natural instinct to retreat from a human encounter.

The golden rule pertaining to alligators is "Don't feed them or harass them." Remember, it is against both state law and Air Force regulations to feed or harass alligators because the most dangerous alligator is one that has been fed.

Sometimes, female alligators with eggs or babies will advance toward a person to drive an intruder away. If this happens, it is usually best to simply back up and move away from the alligator.

It is very important to keep children and pets away from the water' s edge wherever alligators are likely to be present. Do not allow dogs to swim or explore waters that are known to have alligators because dogs look like a delicious snack to alligators.

An alligator's prey selection seems based mostly on size of the potential prey animal, so there are far more alligator attacks on dogs than on humans.

When encountering a snake, the best course of action is to observe from a distance and leave it alone.

All of Georgia's six species of venomous snakes will defend themselves if threatened, but serious or even lethal bites are rare. No Georgia snake will chase a human with intent to bite. The majority of snakebites in this state occur when someone picks up, harasses or tries to kill the snake.

If you spot a venomous snake in an area and it represents a danger to personnel, children or pets, contact the Moody Natural Resources office at (229) 257-5881 and we can come and remove it.

Snakes and alligators are an essential part of Georgia's natural heritage and serve an important role in the ecosystem. Learning more about the habits and role of these species in the environment can help distill fear or negative attitudes about these animals.

Remember the majority of snakes found throughout Georgia are not venomous, harmless and usually beneficial to man. A greater understanding of their importance as predators and prey often brings a greater appreciation for these admittedly not so "warm and fuzzy" animals with which we share our yards, gardens and forests.

Spring is an amazing time in South Georgia. It is a time to get out and explore the outdoor charms only found in this area. However, wildlife is everywhere and demands respect so play hard but play smart. Following simple rules, laws and regulations will allow for a have a wonderful time sharing outdoor activities with the wildlife.