Gator spotted in south Peachtree City


Wildlife is no stranger to Peachtree City. Yet on April 5 a new type of wildlife, a 6-foot alligator, was spotted on Flat Creek and Ga. Highway 74 South by police officers and witnesses.

Police reports stated that the sighting occurred in the area of the Flat Creek bridge over Hwy. 74 South near the Wilshire Pavilion shopping center.

The alligator was first spotted by the driver of a tractor-trailer rig as he passed over the bridge. His first impression was that it might have been just a log, though he stopped as soon as he could and ran back to the bridge to see it, reports said.

Two police officers arrived at the scene after receiving a call about the sighting. The officers confirmed that they did see the alligator on the south side of the bridge. The animal was seen laying with its head partly submerged in the water and its body on some tall grass on the creek bed, reports said.

After a few seconds with four people viewing it, the animal slipped into the water and was not seen again, according to reports.

Officers called the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and were advised that no action would be taken since the alligator was not in the area of recreation lakes or streams, reports said.

The area where the alligator was spotted is approximately 2,000 feet upstream from the convergence of Flat Creek and Line Creek. The two converge immediately west of the bridge on Rockaway Road.

“The distribution range of alligators in Georgia has changed very little over the past several decades. While alligators have increased in number, the areas they occupy have remained virtually the same. Georgia’s alligators can be found primarily south of the Fall Line (roughly from Columbus to Macon to Augusta), their natural geographic range in this state. The range has extended above the Fall Line just a little with some gators occurring in Harris County and others just north of Augusta. There are even a few gators in Atlanta and northwest Georgia from time to time, but these are a result of people transplanting them,” according to Michelle Stripling of Sherpa Guides.

Given the brief sighting, nothing else is known about the 6-foot gator seen in Peachtree City. Though if released in the area by a local resident as a young alligator it would likely have been some time ago. Here’s why.

“Both males and females reach sexual maturity when they are about six feet (1.8 meters) long, a length attained at about 10-12 years. Breeding takes place during the night, in shallow waters. Males roar to attract females and to ward off other males. The male circles the female and mounts. Courtship starts in April, with mating occurring in early May,” according to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

Regardless how and why the alligator arrived in Peachtree City, eyewitness accounts clearly established its presence on the city’s south side.