ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
With the weather warming up, the Robins Air Force Base population will begin to utilize trails, pavilions and bodies of water for recreation and physical fitness activities. Please be cautious due to the possibility of encountering alligators during these activities.
Alligators are an important part of the ecosystem and play a valuable role in wetlands, swamps, rivers and lakes. Alligators are predators that help keep other animal populations in balance and contribute to the overall health of natural areas. Alligators can be found in every body of water across the installation and occasionally come out of the water to bask in the sun or move between wetlands.
In most cases, alligators will move on to areas away from people, especially if they are left alone. Below are safety safety tips that will help ensure people and alligators can continue to co-exist.
— An alligator should have a natural fear of humans. If an alligator seems interested in or approaches a human unprovoked, this reptile has lost its natural fear and can pose a serious threat. This is a dangerous situation, and the person should leave immediately.
— Unless handled, alligators less than four feet in length are not large enough to pose a significant threat. However, if a person encounters an alligator of any size that poses a threat to people, pets or property, they need to leave immediately and call the Robins Command Post at 478-327-2612. Please be aware, nuisance alligators are killed, not relocated.
— Leave alligators alone. State (Ga. Code Ann., § 27-3-170) and federal (50 CFR 17.42) law prohibits feeding, killing, harassing, or possessing alligators. Handling even small alligators is illegal and can result in injury.
— Never feed alligators. It is dangerous and illegal. When fed, alligators overcome their natural fear and learn to associate people with food. When this happens, these reptiles become dependent on that food source, grow increasingly aggressive, and eventually have to be removed and killed.
— When near water for recreation or physical fitness, dispose of fish scraps, excess bait, water bottles, etc., in the appropriate trash receptacle and do not throw them into the water. Although feeding the alligators this way is unintentional, the result can be the same.
— Fish that are caught and released should be placed in the water and not thrown near an alligator.
— Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. Therefore, take precaution during these times near bodies of water.
— Dogs and cats are similar in size to the natural prey of alligators. Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise, or drink in or near waters that may have alligators.
— Swimming and wading is not permitted in any body of water on Robins AFB.
— Observe and photograph alligators only from a distance. The further away, the better.
Following the safety tips above can minimize chances of an unwelcome and unsafe encounter.