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April 27, 2016 | by Karley Nugent
Gator Escape: Round Four

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette faced its fourth alligator escape in six weeks in the morning hours of April 26, just one day after the third escape occurred.

Laura Whisnant, the administrative assistant for UL Lafayette’s Department of Communication said around mid-morning, a student warned her about the alligator when she failed to notice him. She then said she saw the gator lying by the sidewalk near Burke-Hawthorne Hall.

“At first I didn’t notice him; he blended in with the grass,” Whisnant recalled. “A student walked up and said, ‘Ma’am, you might wanna watch out,’ and I turned and looked and he was sitting there with his mouth open.”

Whisnant said once a small crowd of students gathered around, the alligator proceeded to crawl up the wall and dropped back into the water. Whisnant took a Snapchat video of the reptile as it climbed a wall and returned to the swamp.

“After we saw him, he was pretty quick about getting back, and he got right back in,” Whisnant said.

Because the alligator returned to the water on its own, the University Police Department did not need to intervene in this case.

With the fourth alligator escape, Whisnant said although she likes the idea she thinks the alligators’ frequent are starting to present a higher chance for a dangerous encounter.

“It could be a liability,” Whisnant said. “I mean, if he bit somebody or if they attack somebody – I don’t know if they’re that aggressive or not, but they are an alligator. I would hate to say, ‘Oh no, they need to get rid of all the alligators,’ ‘cause I don’t think that. I think if we’re going to keep wild animals or reptiles there, then we definitely need to put sort of, you know, something in place to keep them there.”

Originally, the police said they believed it was the same alligator getting out, but Whisnant said she believes this alligator is smaller than the other getting out.

The ULPD advised any student who comes in contact with an alligator out of the lake to maintain a safe distance and to call either a worker in the Student Union and/or ULPD.

The first alligator escaped on March 17, while the second followed on April 14 and the third escaped on April 25.

To read our story on the first escape, click here.

To read our story on the second escape, click here.

To read out story on the third escape, click here.

My name is Karley Nugent. I'm a senior in journalism, and an aspiring photographer. Currently, I'm a photographer for the Vermilion. I'm passionate about the national parks (especially Yellowstone) and am an avid explorer and hiking addict. My main goal in life is to be either a photojournalist for National Geographic or the National Park Service (you know, assuming they have those).

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