Alligators, snakes creep onto people's property as Ian flooding worsens in Florida
GENEVA, Fla. - For a week now, FOX 35 News has been showing you areas with water flooding the streets, flooding homes, and refusing to drain out.
But it isn’t just water that’s encroaching on developed areas – all the wildlife that normally spend their days near that water have been pushed out too.
The Burns family, for instance, has been doing their best to enjoy what they joke is their new "lakefront property" – a backyard flooded so badly their kids can boat around in it.
They’re just being careful of snakes like this one, and of course, alligators.
"'Chompy' is our alligator. He’s been here since we moved in. Due to the recent flooding, we have seen him again since," said Lindsey Burns.
The relocated wildlife has also been an issue for Carlton Ross, who’s known as the Gator King.
"With the water levels rising like that, it’s pushing all the wildlife into the dry areas, which there’s not a lot of at the moment," said Ross.
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Ross takes people out alligator hunting.
"I basically guide them. I provide all the equipment, the boat, and then I take care of their gator from start to finish," he explained.
And with the flooding right now, he’s seeing quite a few of the creatures.
"It definitely makes it more difficult to hunt. It pushes the gators way back into a lot of the properties – into the woods and the trees and a lot of areas we can’t get access to."
That would be the case if Chompy ever became a problem for the Burns family. They would have to call nuisance trappers with the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) if Chompy made his way to their backyard. But, as Ross explained, even that might not work out right now.
"There’s just so much water right now that even the nuisance trappers are having trouble getting to the areas where those calls are being made," said Ross.
For the past 24 years, the FWC’s nuisance trappers have caught about 8,000 gators a year on average, which are usually a little under 7 feet.