UL

Jul 12, 2013 7:26 PM by Alex Labat

Part of UL's Cypress Lake Blocked Off for Nesting Alligator

Barricades surround Cypress Lake on UL's campus tonight as a protective mother-to-be guards her nest. The alligator will be incubating the eggs for the next two months, and officials are trying to keep both the mom and the public safe from each other.

Joey Pons, the UL Environmental Health and Safety Director says, "The alligator habits are seasonal and this is apparently the season for making more babies."

The alligator laid an estimated 100 eggs over the 4th of July holiday. While they may not all survive, representatives with UL and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries say she'll still have plenty of little mouths to feed.

Ryan Faul with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says, "It could vary. I was talking to one of the biologists in New Iberia this morning and he said in a situation like this somewhere around 30."

The mother gator may be taking a page from Coach Hudspeth and "protecting her house", but Wildlife and Fisheries wants to remind people that gators are as afraid of you as you are of them.

"They need to be respectful of that and not harass the alligator and especially feed the alligator. That's going to desensitize the alligator to human interaction and that alligator would have to be removed from the area. It would become a nuisance alligator at that point," says Faul.

While ensuring the gator's "motherly instincts" don't put any visitors in harms way, those with the university say they still want people to stop by Cypress Lake, because it and its habitat are something you can only see in the Hub City.

"The gators at Cypress Lake are an integral part of the University. We feel this is something that makes our school unique, and attractive to students and to our community and we're really happy to have them here," says Pons.

UL Sophomore Sylvana Okde says, "It's a habitat to you guys, but like I said I'm from Houston so this looks like a swamp to me. It's just crazy to see alligators swimming around and making nests."

The eggs are expected to hatch in early September. UL officials say there are no plans to remove any gators once they hatch, but do say they will monitor the situation and make plans if necessary.

Alex Labat
alabat@katctv.com

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