See you later alligator: simple tips for safely coexisting with alligators in Sugar Land

SL-Memorial-South-9

 Alligators have inhabited Texas’ marshes, swamps, rivers, ponds, and lakes for many centuries. They are an important part of Texas' natural history, as well as an integral component of freshwater ecosystems. As Sugar Land has continued to grow and waterways continue to be added and developed, there exists the potential for increased interactions between people and alligators.

 Alligators naturally shy away from humans and prefer isolated areas away from people. In the spring and summer, alligators are moving to breed and find a new habitat. Our most active months here in Sugar Land are April through July. 

 Alligator Safety Tips

Sugar Land residents should be watchful of alligators, snakes, and other wildlife along the city’s many natural waterways, follow posted signage and share these alligator tips:

  1. Leave alligators alone. State law prohibits killing, harassing, or possessing alligators.

  2. Never feed or entice alligators, it is dangerous and illegal.

  3. Don’t throw fish scraps in the water or leave them onshore.

  4. Closely supervise children when they are playing in or around water. Never allow small children to play unsupervised near water.

  5. Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise, or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators. Dogs are more susceptible to being targeted by an alligator than people because they resemble natural prey. Keep your pet on a leash and in control when walking around the water.

  6. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn when they are feeding. 

  7. If you hear an alligator hiss, it is a warning that you are too close.

  8. Never make the mistake of thinking that an alligator is slow and lethargic. They can run up to 35 miles an hour for short distances. If you have a close encounter, back up slowly. A female alligator protecting her nest might charge you, but she will quickly return to her nest.

 Who Do I Call About a Nuisance Alligator?

The current legal definition of a nuisance alligator is “an alligator that is depredating (killing livestock or pets) or a threat to human health and safety.”  Texas Parks and Wildlife is the only authority that can deem an alligator dangerous because of their protected status. NOTE: an alligator is not considered a nuisance if it is lying on an embankment not bothering anyone. The following are instances in which local authorities should be notified:

  1. If you see an alligator in the roadway.

  2. If an alligator is repeatedly following boats, canoes, or other watercraft, and/or maintains a close distance without submersing.

  3. If you walk near the water and an alligator comes straight toward you, especially if it comes out of the water.

 To report a nuisance alligator, contact your local game warden at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at 281-842-8100. Citizens may also contact Police Dispatch at 281-275-2020 or Animal Services at 281-275-A-DOG for alligators under 6 feet in length on private property such as swimming pools or in roadways.