Officials share tips amid uptick in alligator sightings near Chattahoochee River

Published: Oct. 10, 2023 at 10:46 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 11, 2023 at 9:01 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Muscogee Country Sheriff’s Office, along with the Fort Moore Dive Team, have spotted 30 alligators near the Chattahoochee River behind the Civic Center. Officials say it’s important to keep pets and little ones away from the water and out of danger.

“There are alligators that are in the Chattahoochee River and a lot of other places around.”

Alligator sightings significantly rose in September in places with calmer waters. The Chattahoochee River flows from the mountains of North Georgia to the Florida Panhandle. The Riverwalk in Columbus is 15 miles long.

Muscogee County Underwater Criminal Investigator Russell Sharman says they are focusing on the safety aspect.

“You need to be aware of while you’re on the river walk, and you need to be aware of why you’re in the Chattahoochee River and enjoying yourself.”

This Columbus resident enjoys spending time at the Riverwalk. He says hearing 30 alligators in the river is alarming.

“I think another fear would be like little dogs like I have a little dog and you know little dogs or animals and little children they’re very inquisitive.”

Bulldog Bait and Tackle owner Mildred Williams, whose shop is located near the river, says she believes an alligator lives under the dock and has had animals for supper.

“And two doggies down and supposedly the Gator at that time maybe was under the bridge and most likely had seen or smelt the dog so He evidently had eaten one of them that we didn’t see this but we did hear him yelping like he was yelping for help so there was a one dog disappeared the other still remained.”

Now, it is extremely rare for wild alligators to chase people, but they can run up to 35 miles per hour for short distances on land. But if you do encounter an alligator a few yards away, back away slowly, and contact the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office.