Alligators not a large concern for Memphis campers

Mississippi wildlife experts are warning campers in the central part of the state to be careful of alligators this weekend.

With alligators also spotted recently near T.O. Fuller state park, some campers there are wondering if they should be worried about alligators, too.

There are at least two alligators at McKellar lake, located in T.O. Fuller State Park.  Randy Sines and his wife camped there Wednesday, but weren't worried about the animals.

"I have seen them in the Everglades and they didn't seem too dangerous," Sines said. "I wouldn't think they would bother me."
Chris Baker, a curator at the Memphis Zoo, said the alligator warning in central Mississippi is active because the gators are breeding.  "If you have a female that has built a nest, she will actively guard that nest," he said. "If you get really close to it, she will attack you."

Baker and the Tennessee State Parks say there's no need for campers like the Sines to worry about alligators here in the Mid-South.

"You've gotta have aggressive alligators that have been fed by people, are not afraid of people and associate you with food," Baker said. "I don't think we've got anything like that here."

Experts say if you see an alligator on land, back slowly away.  Alligators are fast in the water, but slow on land.