Officials warn the public to keep a distance from wildlife in the Chattahoochee Valley

Officials warn the public to keep a distance from wildlife in the Chattahoochee Valley

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Snakes, alligators, and deer are some of the most common wildlife you'll find across the Chattahoochee Valley.

"You shouldn't get too close to the animals," says Georgia Department of Natural Resources Corporal Mitch Oliver.

"With boating season here upon us, we do have alligators. All along the Chattahoochee and all three major lakes here have alligators.  They're in Lake Oliver and  Goat Rock," says Oliver.

Oliver says, just like you've made your home in the area, so have the alligators for more than 20 years. The alligators usually stay north of the river, according to Oliver.

"If you do see them on the south end, just keep a distance," says Oliver.

It's also against the law to feed them. Snakes are also a common occurrence in the area and some snakes are venomous.

"The Pigmy, Eastern Diamondback, Timber, Cottonmouth, and Copperhead [are venonmous]. Those are your most venomous snakes and common to encounter here. The 6th venomous snake is the Eastern Coral snake which is protected here in Alabama," says Jonathan Lee, owner of One Stop Pet Shop in Phenix City.

Lee's shop also serves as an educational facility to teach the public about venomous snakes, alligators, and a variety of wildlife.

In Georgia, by law, it's illegal to kill a non-venomous snake if you see one in the wild.

If you believe you've been bitten by a venomous snake, seek immediate medical attention.

Officials say always be mindful of your surroundings and keep in mind, if you do come in contact with wildlife, such as a snake or alligator, it is illegal to keep that animal in captivity.

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