Alligators now common in East Texas rivers, creeks, and backwater - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Alligators now common in East Texas rivers, creeks, and backwater sloughs

Photo Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Photo Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Photo Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Photo Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Photo Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Photo Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
six- foot alligator swimming in North Boggy Slough six- foot alligator swimming in North Boggy Slough
Sean Willis, Wildlife Biologist Sean Willis, Wildlife Biologist

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) – Right now, they're swimming the creeks, lakes and rivers of East Texas, and getting closer to more populated areas each day.

Wildlife Biologist Sean Willis says most don't know how to react to these giant reptiles.

A six foot gator swims back and forth across the North Boggy Slough. The closer the KTRE camera gets, the more he wants nothing to do with it.

"When you approach, he'll instantly go in the water and try and get what he feels is a safe distance away from you," said Willis.

He says alligators are not typically aggressive animals. In most cases, they are more afraid of you than you are of them.

As more alligators make their way to East Texas waterways, the better your likelihood of seeing one.

"As we've gotten more lakes across East Texas, they've been afforded more protection, their numbers have slowly climbed," said Willis.

Springtime is also mating season, so these gators are constantly on the move.

"When mating season is over they will move back to areas where they came from."

Texas Parks and Wildlife reported more than 1,000 nuisance calls for alligators last year in Southeast Texas.

Willis explains, most of these callers are misinformed.

"A nuisance alligator is generally over four feet, poses a danger to humans either in that it's lost its fear of humans, it's been fed, which is a class C misdemeanor."

If the alligator is a problem, it has to be lethally removed.

Willis says it's important to ask yourself these questions, before calling your local Parks and Wildlife Department to report one.

"Is it a native habitat? Is it a river? Is it a public water? Is it really a danger to me or my property?"

Most of the time, Willis says, these gators are just enjoying the home they happen to share with you.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has only reported 21 incidents involving injuries statewide, within the past two decades, and none have been serious.

If you have additional questions about alligators, you can contact your local Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

©2010 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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