Alligator caught in subdivision

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

DACULA -- Reports of an alligator in waterways around Dacula have trickled in to Gwinnett County Animal Control the past year or so.

Police believe they bagged the elusive reptile last week, soaking up rays near a Dacula subdivision's clubhouse.

Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Edwin Ritter said an off-duty officer was en route home May 12 when a neighbor flagged him down, reporting the roughly 5-foot specimen near the community pool.

The officer called in Department of Natural Resources officers to the neighborhood off Harbins Road, just south of Ga. Highway 316.

DNR and more police were able to capture the wayward alligator, and it's been relocated to the swamps of South Georgia, Ritter said.

DNR officials believe it's the same animal that had been popping up around town the last year, he said.

Authorities can only speculate the alligator had wandered north through streams and creeks, or that someone relocated and released it like an overgrown souvenir.

"They believe it was living in the area for a year or so," Ritter said. "It was a full-grown alligator with stunted growth because it had been living up here."

While rare, alligator sightings aren't totally foreign to Gwinnett. Other recent captures, however, have seemed infantile compared to the Dacula specimen.

In August 2008, Suwanee police rounded up a 2-foot gator found chilling out in a resident's front yard near the Chattahoochee River.

And lest we forget the 3-foot rascal that terrorized Lake Lanier that same year. Spotted repeatedly by lake patrons, that gator was caught by DNR near Gainesville a month after police bagged its Suwanee brethren. Both were relocated to licensed facilities with warmer year-round climes.

Alligator habitats generally lie south of Georgia's fall line, a break in elevation and climate that runs through Columbus, Macon and Augusta, a DNR official said.