Nuisance alligators keep expert wranglers busy near New Orleans

Nuisance alligators keep expert wranglers busy near New Orleans

SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - Residents near Lake Pontchartrain are being advised to take a lesson from tragic alligator attack in Orlando that claimed the life of a little boy.

Nuisance gator counts are up, and the St. Tammany Parish gator hunter has been busy, especially in some crowded Slidell neighborhoods.

Expert alligator wrangler Deputy Howard McCrea says the reptiles are everywhere.

A gator called "Fred" is a frequent visitor to backyards along the Hwy. 11 canal, and in the area around Eden isles and Clipper Estates.

"We had a four footer in the pool the other day," said Slidell resident Jordan Farnar. "That freaked us out. We were going to jump in with our dogs."

Gator experts say nuisance gator reports are up. St. Tammany Parish deals with as many as 100 each year.  Farnar agrees. He says a six-footer was going dock-to-dock, eying pets.

FL TODDLER TRAGEDY: Full coverage here.

They jump into the pool, they sunbathe on the bulkhead, and they have put a damper on tubing in the neighborhood lake.

As Florida deals with a deadly gator attack on a toddler at a Disney World resort, North Shore gator hunters are having a field day.

"It's a shame, we had the boy lose his arm feeding them. Once they are not scared, it's a problem," McCrea said.

McCrea has his hands full dealing with problem gators, especially near the lake.

"We've had a lot of high tides that brought them in here," she said.

Many people alligators make Louisiana residents part of who they are. It is part of the culture, but others say they have got to go.

Mandeville officials investigated reports of a resident shooting at a gator earlier in June.

"If you're in imminent danger, shoot, but you can't discharge firearms in the city of Mandeville," Mandeville Police Capt. Gerald Sticker said.

Back on the east side of the parish, nuisance gator hunters were out checking their traps near Farner's home.

"I'm terrified. Someone just caught a bull shark out there. That's not normal for us," Farner said.

This summer she is more likely to cool off in the house, than in the lake out back.

The department of wildlife and fisheries notes the mere presence of an alligator does not qualify it as a nuisance, even if it is located in an unexpected place. Department workers say most alligators, if left alone, will move on.

If you hear a hiss, it is a warning that you are too close.

If you spot an alligator you think qualifies as a nuisance, visit the wildlife and fisheries website.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.