Close to Nowhere
By a strange coincidence I’ve read a couple of books lately where alligators are a minor part of the plots.
In one book, the hero buys a wrought iron fence for a 4-year-old boy who keeps asking our hero to shoot Louise. When said hero finds out Louise is a gator, not a neighbor, he goes out and buys the fence. Our hero is very afraid of alligators. His partner in solving the crime is an attractive lady doctor who grew up around alligators and doesn’t tell the hero when they’re having dinner on the back porch that the bullfrog-type noises coming from the nearby bayou are not frogs; they’re alligators.
In the book I just finished, the alligator has an actual role. He gets to help catch the murderer — by eating him of course. This alligator, unlike the first one who lives in a Louisiana bayou, lives in Mississippi near the Pearl River. According to this fiction author, the Pearl is infested with alligators.
Since we had an alligator visit in our area in March-May of 2016, I wasn’t as skeptical about an alligator making an appearance in Mississippi as I might have been.
So, I Googled alligators in north MS and was surprised!
Alligators were on the Endangered Species list in 1960. Not to worry though, alligators, by the 1970s, were becoming a stable, secure species again.
Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks estimate that there are 32,000-38,000 alligators and about 408,000 acres of alligator habitat in Mississippi. Fourteen northern Mississippi counties have produced no alligator records, but nuisance alligator complaints have come from as far north as Coahoma, Lafayette, and Itawamba Counties.
Now, you might wonder what a nuisance alligator is in comparison to a plain old alligator. A nuisance alligator is one who doesn’t stay where he’s supposed to — he comes in your yard and gets in your swimming pool and eats your dog.
Alligators are not considered a threat to humans. Apparently we don’t taste good enough. Alligators like dogs.
The MWF&P says that if you see an alligator to observe it but not to aggravate it. You probably ought not to poke one with a stick.
The No. 1 rule is apparently not to feed the gators. They get pushy looking for handouts.
My No. 1 rule — run screaming in the opposite direction! Do not poke it!