Residents discover alligator in local lake

June 4, 2008 8:20:49 PM PDT
An alligator is causing a commotion in a Fayetteville neighborhood.

The 6 foot gator showed up about 2- weeks ago near MacFayden Lake on Cliffdale Road.

While some are asking where the gator came from, a lot more want to know when it's going to leave.

Officers say the real danger is motorist on Cliffdale Road slowing down trying to get a look at the alligator. For now wildlife officers say, the animal can stay.

John Douglas thought he had found a good fishing spot, until two Mondays ago, when he saw the 6 foot alligator sharing his stream.

"I been fishing for a long time and that the likeliest place I thought I wouldn't see an alligator and when I seen it, I just couldn't believe it," Douglas said.

And apparently none of the people Douglas told could or would believe it either.

So Saturday he took his family and video camera to the Cliffdale Road Bridge and caught the gator sunning on a log.

Now as word spreads, a lot of people want to catch a peek.

"Just when we were down here with Animal Control a while ago there was almost three wrecks right out here, that's dangerous," Wildlife Officer, David Banholzer said.

Wildlife officers say the 3-year-old alligator is native to this part of North Carolina, and has made himself at home below the MacFayden Lake Dam Spillway.

David Williams and other residents who live around the lake were surprised to hear about their neighbor.

"I didn't believe it was here, I really did believe it was here," Williams said.

Banholtzer says the American alligator isn't dangerous, as long as people don't try and feed him.

"He is not going to be a threat to anybody's pet or anything. He has found a little niche. Now as to how he got here, whether it was natural or somebody had him as a pet and he got too big and they released him, there is no telling," Banholzer said.

He says it's also a crime to kill or remove the gator. He says for now it can stay in the stream.

That worries residents downstream, like Deborah Pernell who says her grandchild like to play in the backyard.

"Kind of keep watch on everything now, and maybe my husband will probably put up a fence out there, keep everything down," Pernell said.

And Douglas says he'll look for another fishing spot.

A wildlife biologist is scheduled to check out the gator Thursday. In the mean time, wildlife officers say with urban sprawl, they are getting a lot of alligator calls.


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