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7-foot alligator spotted in Tennessee is the latest of several sightings confirmed,’ wildlife agency says

An alligator spotted in the pond in South America.

(Reuters)

If you live in west Tennessee, on the lookout: A 7-foot alligator was recently spotted in the southwestern part of the state and is the latest of several sightings confirmed,” wild animals officials warned.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) staff recently captured images of the huge reptile in the Wolf River in Feyette County. While alligators have been slowly migrating north for the past five years, the video is “really the first good images of this,” Amy Spencer, public information and education coordinator for region 1 of the TWRA, told Fox News.

Spencer said that the gators are expanding into Tennessee from the southern border states, such as Mississippi, which is a “pretty good [alligator] population” along the Mississippi/Tennessee border, ” she said.

“This is a natural progression,” she said, adding that the local residents could not stop talking about another alligator that was spotted in Hardin County last summer.

Spencer said alligators are likely to migrate north because the winters in Tennessee are relatively mild. During the few snaps of extreme cold the gators “goes into a hibernation state called brumation,” she said. (In fact, according to TWRA, alligators “can withstand periods of ice by sticking their beaks out of the water before it freezes which allows them to continue to breathe”).

The reptiles are “opportunistic eaters,” the agency said, adding that they usually eat fish, turtles, snakes, and frogs, and other species of smaller animals that live in the water. But sometimes, according to TWRA, the gators will feed on larger animals such as possums, raccoons and deer.”

Everyone who comes in contact with a gator is urged to leave them alone. Spencer said the agency has no plans to remove the reptiles and may not stop their progress in Tennessee.

“The chance that seriously injured by an alligator] is super rare. That being said, she added, “don’t touch them-they are more afraid of you than you of them.”

In addition, it is against the law to harass or hunt alligators, because they are a protected species, she said. And while there is a chance that the gators can “move on” to other parts of Tennessee or even other states, “we must learn to live with them,” Spencer said.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

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