MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Is there a gator in the lake at Sanga Point?
Some residents in the Cordova neighborhood say they’ve seen something that looks like one. Signs are up saying so.
And neighbors are talking about it, warning their kids, speculating about vanished pets -- but making a few jokes, too.
After all, there’s no strong evidence so far of a reptile that has been described with curious precision as 5 1/2-feet long.
“I was looking for alligator footprints where it might have been basking,” said Alan Adams of American Wildlife Removal Experts, “but rain could have washed them away.”
He also noticed catfish and turtle carcasses around the lake, but that didn’t mean much.
Gators, after all, don’t leave scraps.
“I saw what looked like the head of an alligator,” said Gina Cici, whose house overlooks the water. She wasn’t certain but she and her kids watch a lot of Animal Planet, so she thinks it was.
Her husband walked the lake Thursday but didn’t turn up anything. But with all the neighbors and curiosity-seekers out that evening, maybe the gator was just shy.
Whether it’s there or not, it’s sure being discussed.
A couple of kids supposedly saw it on the bank and supposedly took a cell phone snap. No photo has surfaced yet.
Cici’s 5-year-old daughter, Natalie, was asked if she was afraid of the gator. “No,” she responded confidently. “I’d wrestle it.” Mom blames Animal Planet’s Steve ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Irwin for that one.
A certain Yorkie in the neighborhood has been renamed “Gator Bait.” All in good fun.
Adams speculates that the reptile -- if there is one -- may have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
It’s plausible, he says, that it’s a Louisiana outcast who paddled up the Mississippi, took a right at the Wolf River, worked its way to Cordova and made the short overland trip to the lake.
A few of the species Alligator mississippiensis have been seen recently in McKellar Lake in southwest Shelby County.
But it could also have been released by someone who decided it didn’t make a fun pet.
Friday afternoon, a reporter and photographer walked perilously close to the edge of the lake, watching for signs of reptilian activity.
Suddenly, a mud cloud broke the surface of the water a couple of feet away. Then another just beyond that. Something was definitely running along the lake bottom. The trail of blossoming mud clouds tracked quickly out toward the middle of the lake.
Some creatures just don’t want to be interviewed.
The Commercial Appeal, Saturday, July 8, 2006