After an 11-year-old-boy had his left arm gnawed off by a nearly 11-foot alligator last week, wildlife officers across south Louisiana have been keeping an eye-out for the dangerous reptiles.
And that vigilance has paid of at the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
St. Charles Parish wildlife nuisance control officer Kenny Schmill killed an 11-foot-2-inch alligator near the spillway’s boat launch. Schmill says the alligator had probably been in the area for the last couple of days. He thinks that some people who crab nearby might have been leaving behind food, which kept the alligator hanging around.
“When I got out there, it was like he was waiting for someone to feed him,” Schmill said. “I threw some chicken out there and said ‘here’s your last meal.’ I shot him out of my truck window from about 75 feet away.”
Schmill says that once alligators find an area with food, they will stay around – even the big ones. In fact, people were crabbing in the area when he passed by the launch to find the alligator.
“One lady who was out there told me she had been swimming in the area the day before,” Schmill said. “People really need to pick up there trash and be careful not to leave anything out that the alligators can eat. That’s why they stay around.”
Recently, an alligator that was known locally as Big Joe ripped off Devin Funck’s arm while he and two friends were swimming in a lake near Slidell. Funck managed to climb out of the water using only his right arm.
“6 or 7-foot alligators don’t usually attack, but a 9 or 10-foot gator sees a little kid swimming in the water as food,” Schmill said. “That boy is very lucky that he got out of the water because alligators usually kill their prey.”
Schmill said that when the gator bit off Funck’s arm, water went down its throat, which forced it to let go.
Two days before the attack, an alligator was hit by a vehicle on the lanes over the Bonnet Carre Spillway, which held up traffic in the eastbound lane for almost two hours.