According to CBS New Orleans station WWL-TV, an elderly Slidell man was reportedly mauled by an alligator following Hurricane Ida and hasn't been seen since.
Deputies with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said the 71-year-old was in his shed about noon Monday when his wife reported hearing a ruckus.
Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on houses, knocked out electricity for millions, and killed at least two individuals. But, perhaps most ominously, it has brought danger to communities in the form of floodwaters.
According to officials, an alligator is said to have attacked the man in the part of the flooded Louisiana waters on Monday. Jason Gaubert, a spokesperson for the St. Tammany Fire District No. 1, stated that the man's wife saw the incident near Slidell, just over Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans.
According to NBC station WDSU, according to the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office, the man's wife heard a disturbance outside and witnessed the alligator assaulting her 71-year-old husband. She assisted him in getting up some steps and out of the floodwaters. Unfortunately, he was no longer there when I went to get some medical supplies and call for aid.
The threat of alligator attacks in flooded neighborhoods following the hurricane was mentioned earlier in the day by officials.
According to Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng, some swamplands had flooded, and the hazards to first responders and residents were severe.
"This is a region with a lot of swampland, alligators, and hazardous conditions," she told CNN on Monday, adding that first responders had to wait until dawn to inspect the area and rescue anyone who needed assistance.
She went on to say that some locations saw flooding as a result of the storm "above the level of the chest It reaches the apex of the roof."
Their property is near Lake Pontchartrain, and Ida's storm surge allegedly flooded the shed, which had several feet of water inside. The shed is located beneath the elevated home, which is bordered by a marsh and wildlife sanctuary.
Although the South is home to an estimated 5 million alligators, alligator attacks during or after hurricanes are rare.
According to experts at the University of Florida, alligators generally bunker down in their native environment if a storm is approaching, who told the Florida Times-Union, part of the USA TODAY Network, in 2019. Sensors on the reptiles allow them to sense changes in pressure before a storm strikes.
In the Times-Union report, Joe Wasilewski, a UF conservation scientist who has worked with crocodiles and alligators for over 40 years, stated, "They are considerably intelligent compared to some people." "They immediately seek refuge." They live in burrows or caves, generally beneath a mud or canal, and believe me when I say that the first thing they will do is go into those burrows and caves."
However, alligators may be dangerous after a storm, especially in regions near bodies of water, according to experts. They may travel through floodwaters into areas where such reptiles aren't often seen.
"As we have a storm, the temperature is quite high, we have a lot of water, and when the water levels rise, alligators tend to migrate about," said James Perran Ross, a wildlife scientist and alligator expert at the University of Florida, in 2019.
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