Alligator spotted in Barrow County pond

by: Diana Davis Updated:

File picture of an alligator from a previous story.

STATHAM, Ga. - It may be bulldog territory, but several residents of Statham in Barrow County said they've spotted a gator in a small pond just down the road from the University of Georgia.

Experts said this one appears to be the real thing.

Channel 2's Diana Davis went looking Friday and talked to the first man who saw the alligator.

"It was a good 6 foot," Jim Verschaegen said.

Verschaegen said he first saw the alligator sunning itself on the banks of a small pond in Statham.

He told Davis he couldn't' believe it. Verschragen said neither could the police.

"They were a little skeptical. I would be too, you know?" laughed Verschaegen.

Now, two Statham police officers have seen the alligator, too.

Officer Mike Pruitt told Davis he saw the gator when he was on patrol at night looking for trespassers.

"Then I actually shone my spot light across the lake. It was about 4 to 5 feet in length," Pruitt said.

So far no one's gotten a picture of the alligator. Davis and her photographer looked and looked with no luck.

There are about 200,000 gators in Georgia, according to wildlife experts.

Most of the time they are found well south of what's called the fall line, an imaginary line from Columbus to Augusta.

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The Statham gator, everyone agrees, was probably dumped by someone when the gator got too big to keep as a pet.

Verschraegen said he's watching. Now, he said he always carries his camera. He said if he sees it he'll call police first, but wouldn't mind catching it.

"And if he's there, if I can catch it, I might catch it, I don't know. I got some rope in my truck, that's about it," he said.

Police want fishermen and kids to stay away from the pond. No trespassing signs are posted.

The state Department of Natural Resources said it's investigating the possibility of setting a trap.


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