It's kind of weird when you think about it. We live in a part of the country where it is possible to come face to face with an alligator. I guess there are very few people in our "neck of the woods" who haven't seen an alligator in the wild. Just a couple of years ago, we had one in the parking lot here at 92-9 The Lake.

Well, the folks at Wildlife and Fisheries have some good solid advice for dealing with those critters and, if you plan to be in an area where gators hang out, it might be a good idea to know some of the safety rules.

According to Edmond Mouton, biology program manager for state's alligator management program:

"A safe distance is around 50-feet or more because alligators can run up to 40 mph within a short distance. So people don't realize that they can be very fast and quick,"

Mouton also cautions that grabbing an alligator by the tail is an excellent way to lose a hand because they can turn an bite in a flash. Mouton also adds that feeding gators is teaching them not to be afraid of people and that is a very bad thing indeed. Gators who are fed learn to connect people with food and that can have very bad results.

"When alligators are fed, they become more accustomed to humans and less fearful of humans and can become more aggressive," Mouton explained.

If you encounter an alligator near your home, you can call Wildlife and Fisheries to have professionals remove it. Call the New Iberia office at 373-0032.