Monday Mail: Scouting for whitewater alligators

tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 8, 2013 

The alligator is my friend he likes to tease and flirt and itís Monday Mail.

Scouting girls

Our opening today is from a Girl Scout camp song, so employed here because we have responses to a June 22 column on alligators in the Chattahoochee River. First we have this voicemail:

Mr. Chitwood,

My name is Montgomery Thorne. I'm a resident here in Columbus. I read your article this morning about the alligators in the river and based on the timing of this article it seems to me like you're giving a little bit of a warning to the people, either the people running the things or the people of Columbus that there are alligators out there. And your article begs the question: Is this dangerous for people to be out there in the whitewater in these rubber rafts? I sure would like an answer to that. The people who run the whitewater, are they as aware as you are that there are alligators out there? I really think somebody needs to address this as far as safety.

Thank you very much.

Dear Montgomery:

I've yet to see a wild gator that didn't flee from humans, unless humans had been feeding it.

Remember that alligators hunt by sensing the motion of water displaced by prey. Whitewater would not be a very good hunting range for a predator operating that way.

Gator bait

Now we have online postings to that column, the first from "slam1954":

Hey, great article Tim! Anybody want'a go tubing or maybe "rafting"? Just one more reason to stay out of the Chattanasty!

Dear slam1954:

You know, "Chattanasty" would be a good name for a whitewater rapid.

Lunch meat

This is from "HB10":

Someone recently spotted a 6- to 8-foot alligator swimming near Rotary Park. Hope they don't get all the way up to the whitewater area. Those people that get dumped out of their rafts don't want to be a gator's lunch.

Dear HB10:

Are you sure they don't? Those people are all thrill seekers, you know.


This is from Ellen Horn:

Riverbend in Cusseta is full of them. If I said how big I would be called a liar. Not a good place for small children with little dogs barking on the bank. My friend and I used to nudge them away as everyone thought they were logs and we were crazy.

Dear Ellen:

That's a good tip for tourists. I've heard Riverbend is the nearest place from here to drive to get a close look at big gators congregating on the river.

Tim Chitwood,, 706-571-8508.

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