With 2 recent incidents, are there more alligators in East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

With 2 recent incidents, are there more alligators in East Texas?

Are ther more alligators or just more sightings? Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV. Are ther more alligators or just more sightings? Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV.
WOOD COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

There have been a couple alligator incidents in East Texas in the last few days, and it seems there have been increased sightings and reports of the reptiles.

But has there really been an increase in the alligator population? We spoke with a game warden to get the facts.

Wood Co. Game Warden Kurt Kelly says he has received more calls about gators in East Texas recently.

“We average quite a few phone calls from the first of April when everything starts warming up until about this time of year; lots of people calling and seeing alligators,” Kelly said.

They are affected by the weather and get more active in the spring.

“Too much water, they’re going to move, not enough water, they’re going to move, and obviously this is the breeding season so they’re out looking for mates,” Kelly explained.

Water may rise and a gator might explore and set up home elsewhere, or a pond may dry out forcing it to take a hike.

“And then the other factor that would make them move would obviously be a food source or too many people,” Kelly stated.

He says there is a road at north Lake Hawkins that alligators cross from time to time, but the water is shallow around there.

“Alligators are going to stay in an area that’s shallow. They’re not going to spend a lot of time down here by the dam. They will migrate from time to time, but it’s not just Lake Hawkins, that’s any lake,” Kelly said.

“Are there more alligators this year than last year than ten years ago?” I asked Kelly.

“I don’t know that there’s more alligators now than what there was ten years ago. There’s more people in Wood County now than what there was ten years ago. I think we’ve always had the alligators. The water has been here, the habitat has been here. The habitat is good for alligators here in Wood County and surrounding counties, so I wouldn’t so much say that there’s more alligators. I just think there’s more people which puts more eyes on the environment,” Kelly added.

He’s been a Wood County Game Warden for 17 years and only handled two reports of someone bitten by a gator.

“One was a man that had one in his bath tub, and the other one, a man caught it and put it in the car, and it bit him while he was pulling it out of the car,” Kelly revealed.

By the way there is an alligator hunting season. You’re allowed one alligator per license per year from April first to the last day in June, so you can still bag one if you hurry.

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