Alligator spotted at Tracy Park, eludes capture

By BY Dianna Wray
Sept. 17, 2010 at 4:17 a.m.

Someone should tell the ducks at Ethel Lee Tracy Park it's not safe to go back into the water yet.

There's been no sign of an alligator that was spotted in the pond on Thursday, but Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens are still keeping a sharp eye out.

Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden Travis Haug said it's not uncommon for alligators to appear in urban areas this time of year. Large amounts of rain fill up ditches, allowing the alligators to travel quickly by swimming in them.

"When you get a lot of rain, gators will move around to different places in search of food. With all of this rain we've had in the last week when the ditches are full, they can swim down it like a highway," Haug said.

Alligators are the top predators in the area food chain, so they can go where they want and do what they want, Texas Parks and Wildlife district supervisor Rex Mayes said.

Mayes said the department relocates about 60 to 70 alligators a year.

"When we have wet weather like this they tend to wind up in public places," Mayes said. "They usually don't present a problem until people feed them. It's illegal and they lose their fear of people and start associating people with food, and that's not good."

The main thing, Mayes emphasized, is for people to be cautious if they come across an alligator.

"Stay away from it, because you're not going to win a 30-yard-dash with an alligator," he said, wryly.

The game wardens are still looking for the alligator and plan to remove the animal and relocate it to the Guadalupe River if they find it in the park.

Gerald Anglia lives near the park. He said he wasn't worried about the alligator.

"I hadn't heard about it, but people don't swim in the pond and dogs are supposed to be on leashes. I'm not worried about it," Anglia said.

So far, game warden Jon Kocian said they've searched the lake numerous times without sighting an alligator.

The wardens will keep searching the park for the next few days, but Kocian said the alligator may have just been passing through.

"It may just have moved in and moved out, but we're going to keep checking on it for the next few days," Kocian said.



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