Gator terrorizes ducks in Highway 51 pond

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2010



LAPLACE – For about the past week, the pond at Highway 51 Park outside the LaPlace Library has played host to an unwanted guest that has been terrorizing other animals that call the area home.

A 6-foot alligator has been trolling the waters of the pond and feasting off an assortment of ducks and other birds nesting and swimming along the banks.

“He swims around the lake like he owns it,” said Laplace resident Connie Rawlinson, who has seen the gator on numerous occasions. “It’s almost like he is living in his own chicken restaurant because he has been picking apart the ducks one by one.”

Rawlinson and other park patrons have noticed a stark decrease in the number of waterfowl in and around the pond. She also said she has seen remnants of ducks that were not able to escape the gator’s grasp.

“There have been feathers and other duck body parts scattered all about the pond,” Rawlinson said. “It seems like the gator creeps up at night and catches them when they are sleeping.”

Rawlinson is concerned about the ducks, but also wonders how much further the threat could grow, particularly during busy evening hours when lots of people are present.

“There are always children playing out here,” Rawlinson said. “That’s definitely cause for concern.”

The parish has posted warning signs around the lake that notify residents of the gator. The St. John Sheriff’s Office has also contacted a license nuisance officer in an effort to capture the gator and get it out of the pond. The officer was seen Tuesday afternoon re-baiting a hook on the shore of the lake.

“Hopefully the gator will be caught soon, or there will be no more ducks to feed here,” Rawlinson said.