PTC’s alligator floats in for a photo

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An alligator that took up residence in Peachtree City was first reported on April 5. The estimated 6-footer — informally dubbed Flat Creek Floyd on Facebook — was seen by police and other witnesses. Another sighting came on April 22 when an employee of Peachtree City government snapped a photo of the gator in Flat Creek near Ga. Highway 74 South.

Peachtree City employee Freddy Frank saw the gator in the morning hours of April 22 and snapped a photo of one of the city’s newest reptilian residents found on the northeast side of the bridge over Flat Creek on Hwy. 74 South.

Frank said he was out trying to get some photos for the city’s website and the Peachtree City Police Department Facebook page.

“People used to fish in this area, but I haven’t seen anyone in quite a while,” Frank said.

The alligator was first spotted on April 5 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 part 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.

Local and state authorities warn against trying to feed or entice the carnivore. Stay away from that area, they say.

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 in an area that floods easily and can be quite swampy and very difficult to traverse.

“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. Courtship starts in April, with mating occurring in early May,” according to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

It is not known if the alligator spotted is alone or has company in the area. If so, the time for mating is almost here.