Ellen Trout Zoo officials explain rare alligator sighting

Ellen Trout Zoo officials explain rare alligator sighting

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin officials are still on the lookout for the alligator spotted yesterday in Jones Lake.

According to officials, alligator sightings in Lufkin are rare. In fact, the one seen Tuesday was the first one seen in Jones Park.

"It's the first one I've ever heard being in Jones Lake, ever," said Ellen Trout Zoo Director Gordon Henley.

Where are these alligators coming from?

"Jones Lake and the Country Club, and The Ellen Trout are all connected by one creek," Henley said. "That creek makes its way into the Angelina River and there have always been alligators in the Angelina River."

Alligators rarely venture from the river and Henley isn't exactly sure why this particular one was in Jones Lake, but he has a guess.

"They're looking for food and they're looking for places to get away from competition," Henley said. "Sometimes when they're too close together, especially during breeding season, there can be severe conflict between males and the smaller ones want to get away from that, so they're safe."

Another reason why it's so rare to see an alligator in public areas is because they're afraid of humans. In fact, the only time there is an incident is if a human interacts with them first.

"The alligators that have been in our lake here at Ellen Trout Lake have never posed a threat to people. There have been times when some were removed because people fed them."

To be cautious, the city will be putting up signs at Jones Lake, warning people of the possibility of alligators.

For those who might encounter an alligator, Henley offers some advice.

"Leave them alone," Henley said. "Don't feed them; don't approach them."

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