New Orleans, LA

Safety Tips for When an Alligator Approaches

Ashley Lideau


NEW ORLEANS, LA - When exploring various portions of New Orleans City Park, you will frequently come across wildlife, especially alligators, in their native habitats. Here are some more safety suggestions.

Stay safe around alligators by avoiding swimming or wading. Dusk and dawn are the time when alligators are more active. Do not feed or harass alligators as well. It is harmful to provide or offer food, including fish or bait, to alligators in City Park.

Keep your pets away from the water’s edge and on leashes that are six feet maximum in length. Pets have similarities with alligator prey in size and shape. Do not let your pet come closer, drink from, or even enter the water in alligators habitat. The reptiles have a sharp sense of smell.

If an alligator comes toward you when you stroll near the water, tell a park worker immediately. If an alligator were fed on purpose or thrown food scraps, it would associate food with people. Do not continue fishing near an alligator that is interested in either your catch or fishing line. Cut the cord and move to a new spot if an alligator takes your bait or fish. Keep your fish in a bucket.

Keep your distance 30 feet away from alligators. Back out little by little if you get too close. Alligators are fast and agile, and if cornered, they will defend themselves by hissing, a warning sign that we should respond by back away slowly. A female may attack if you get too close with her nest or young and back to the nest after the intruder leaves. Keep away from piles of twigs, grasses, and soil near the lake. Avoid any group of small alligators under a foot long as well.

If you come across an alligator, please contact the Property and Safety Coordinator at 504 483-9358 with the location and approximate size. If you observe an alligator or see someone feeding or bothering the reptiles, call City Park Police at 504 421-9307.

The Park’s alligator protocol for South of Interstate 610 is doing its best to remove all sized alligators. For North of Interstate 610, they work alongside the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to remove five feet or longer alligators.

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