Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Alligator Tale

How about one more alligator story? This one comes from San Antonio, Texas, which, according to the graph below, is on the extreme western edge of what the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department recognizes as gator habitat.

According to an article on the Wildlife News and Habitat Management website, a 9-foot long alligator was shot and killed by game wardens back in July of 2007. The gator had seemingly lost it's fear of humans and was approaching homes. As you can see by the picture below, it would be hard to argue with the assessment made by the game wardens that this was a nuisance animal.The original article can be accessed here.

Texas Parks & Wildlife game warden Danny Shaw is quoted as saying, "We did not want it to have contact with human beings." This is essentially what led to the decision to put the animal down as opposed to relocating it. According to Shaw, Choke Canyon Reservoir is the usual destination for alligators that need to be relocated from the San Antonio area (this is something I did not know). Game warden Shaw said that relocation was not an option in this case as Choke Canyon is a public reservoir and not an acceptable alternative home for alligators that have lost their fear of people.

The article also mentions an alligator that stopped traffic in the same area in April of 2007. That gator escaped into a drainage area when chased off the road by police. It is possible this was the same animal but that can't be known for sure.

While the last two posts about alligators involve incidents that took place back in 2007, they do provide the documentation I was looking for as to sightings of these big reptiles as far west as the I-35 corridor. Maybe the alligator sightings in Bell County over the last several years are just of animals in their native habitats and not of displaced or out of place creatures after all.

It does seem that alligator sightings up and down the I-35 corridor from the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex , through Central Texas, and into the San Antonio area are becoming more common.

It will be interesting to see if the trend continues.

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