You can't be in a hurry to catch an alligator.
"Patience," says Jackson County Animal Control Officer Keith Powell. Jackson County Animal Control Officers who are also trained gator trappers spent most of Wednesday morning peering down a storm drain in the Bailey Lumber parking lot. Down below in the murky water was the 8-foot gator that was a familiar site to many lumber company employees.
"He's just an old friend that hangs out on the bank. Now they wanna get rid of 'em," says Bailey employee Darren Danice.
But that wasn't easy. First the trappers lowered raw chicken down the drain. Then they threw cat food at him; still no luck, the gator wasn't biting.
So the Ocean Springs Fire Department gave it a try. They turned the hose on the canal leading to the storm drain, hoping to flush out the gator. Foiled again.
Firefighter Danny Dossett says, "I guess he figured it was a shower in there and he liked it I guess cause he ain't gonna move. We figured that hose would get him out, didn't do it."
Still determined, the officers called the city public works department to bring its big vaccum truck. The strong blast of water did the trick and a few minutes later it was gator wrestling time. The trappers taped the gator's mouth shut, and while straddling it, Billy Hall tied its legs.
"Main thing is watch his head and we had a snare around his mouth and when we grabbed his mouth holdin' it shut he doesn't really have that much strength to open it, it's when he clamps down it's like three thousand pounds per square inch, that's what ya gotta worry about," says Hall.
Still some, say the gator wasn't a problem and folks had gotten used to having him around.
"I think he knows that highway and that's why he follows that little ditch over there to the bayou and eats. I think they oughta leave him alone," says Danice.
But animal experts think the gator will be more at home in a wildlife management area. That's where he's headed after a stop at the animal shelter where he'll be tagged with with a microchip for identification.