ASHDOWN, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – Some unexpected wildlife is making its way into a southwest Arkansas community, and it’s catching some residents by surprise.
In Ashdown, some kids caught a little more than they bargained for when fishing in a backyard pond.
Tyler Graf, 12, likes to spend his summer seeing what’s biting. Graf and his friends can usually be found casting a line fishing for bass and crappie at the Peacock Drive pond.
But recently, something else was lurking underneath the water.
“My step-brother told me to watch out and I didn’t know where to look,” said Graf. “I looked to the left, I looked to the right, and then I looked down into the pond and there was a gator swimming towards my topwater frog.”
Two alligators were found at the pond over the last week.
“Kinda weird, ’cause I hadn’t seen one here before,” said Christopher Bailey, 17.
“I didn’t know what to think,” continued Graf. “I was scared, really.”
Less than 10 miles away, Millwood Lake is home to most of the state’s estimated 2,000 alligators. Arkansas Game and Fish said recent flooding is encouraging the large reptiles to be more adventurous and seek new bodies of water to call home.
“I just don’t know how it got here,” said Graf. “Especially in this pond. ‘Cause there’s no water around except for this.”
For now, Graf said he is going to keep a closer eye on what he is reeling in.
“Watch out and be careful and have caution wherever you fish,” said Graf.
It is illegal to hunt or kill alligators without a permit. Game and Fish officials said if you see a gator, call your local police.
Louisiana is home to the most gators in the nation with an estimated two million of the reptiles.