Trappers remove large alligator from east Bibb residence

hgoodridge@macon.comJune 11, 2013 

hydrangias

Hosie Lee Mackey, right, talks with Jason Clark and Matthew Waller, center, after the Southeastern Reptile Rescue team removed an alligator from the Mackey's backyard in east Bibb County.

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  • Numbers to call for wildlife emergencies

    Department of Natural Resources: (478) 825-6354 or (800) 241-4113 after hours.

    Southeast Reptile Rescue: (404) 557-2470. You can take a picture of a snake, and a rescuer will respond and tell you what type it is. For more information go to www.snakesareus.com.

    City of Macon Animal Control: (478) 751-9200.

Hosie Mackey thought his neighbor was joking when he called him at 7:30 Tuesday morning and said, “I don’t mean to scare you, but you have an alligator in your backyard.”

“I’m used to deer,” said Mackey, who lives in the 5500 block of Kiernan Drive in east Bibb County. But not alligators.

His neighbor told him to look out his back window, but Mackey didn’t see anything.

Then the neighbor told him to look near the fence.

“I said, ‘Good God Almighty!’ and called 911,” Mackey said after spotting the nearly 10-foot, 200-pound alligator nestled in the corner of his chain-link fence.

Emergency dispatchers called the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Bibb County sheriff’s deputies arrived to secure the area. Mackey was instructed to call the Southeast Reptile Rescue.

Jason Clark, of the Griffin-based rescue, was on the scene in just more than an hour. He and his wife, Sarah, trapped the alligator using their usual tools: a pole similar to the ones used by dog catchers, a towel to put over the animal’s eyes and electrical tape to secure the reptile’s massive mouth. It took them about 25 minutes. They then carried the animal to the back of Clark’s truck and hauled it to their temporary holding pond.

Clark said he’s going to release it in the coming days in the Chattahoochee River in Columbus. If it was released in this area, Clark said, it’s likely to find its way back to the same neighborhood.

This is the second Bibb County alligator Clark has captured in as many weeks. Clark removed an alligator from a home on Macon’s Bloomfield Road last week.

“It’s about the same size as the other one,” Clark said after loading the latest one on the back of his truck Tuesday. “This is a male with bite marks on the tail from another large male.”

Clark said the alligator likely was ousted from his original habitat by the larger male.

“It’s about finding a new habitat,” he said. “Stress from a larger male, no food, no mate, no place to go.”

So the gator found his way to Mackey’s house.

Calls for such wildlife are not rare here.

“It’s a breeding season for alligators,” said the DNR’s Kevin Kramer, who is the region supervisor for game management and is based in Fort Valley. “It’s not unusual ... (Macon) is the upper end of alligator range.”

The alligator that ended up in Mackey’s yard was first spotted Monday night in a non-residential area of Joe Tamplin Industrial Boulevard, according to a news release from the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.

To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.

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