PORT ARANSAS, Texas — A 10-foot alligator was captured near the Dollar General in Port Aransas on Monday. Port Aransas Animal Control officer Rick Gleason enlisted the help of Gary Saurage from Gator Country in Beaumont to come down and capture the animal.
“You can’t have a 10-foot alligator hanging out at the dollar store, it’s just not gonna work,” Saurage said. “It's been coming in and out for years. The problem is that we were feeding this alligator.”
Gleason said he saw videos of people giving the gator chicken, or dangling a hotdog over it.
“If he’ll come up to you, just as simple as he’ll grab that hotdog or piece of chicken, he can grab you and pull you into the water. Once he gets you in the water, you're done. There's nothing you can do to get away from it,” he said.
Saurage said people feeding the gator became a problem for both the animal and the people of Port Aransas.
“When people are feeding the alligator, they don't understand he doesn't know the difference between the food in your hand or your hand. Then on top of that, as soon as an alligator does bite somebody, Texas Parks and Wildlife will have to put the alligator down,” he said.
"I understand and you know it's kind of an oddity, people want to see it and they want to take pictures of it, but when you feed it you're making it where it's not scared of people,” said Gleason.
Luckily, the alligator did not cause any harm to people. It spent the night at the Port Aransas Animal Shelter, and was relocated to Gator Country, Saurage’s alligator sanctuary up in Beaumont.
Saurage has been catching alligators for more than 20 years, and catches around 250 gators a year. Gleason, on the other hand, deals more with cats and dogs, with the occasional coyote or rattlesnake. This is not the first gator he has helped wrangle, but it is always interesting when he does need to assist.
"It breaks the monotony, it's not the first gator we caught out of here, we’ve had about three in the last year or so. There’s never a dull moment, let's say that,” Gleason said.