Alligators increasingly spotted at East Texas ponds and lakes

Alligators spotted at East Texas ponds and lakes

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -

Late spring and early summer bring many out to East Texas lakes and swimming areas, but it's also an active time for big reptiles like alligators.

Two instances in two East Texas counties now have some concerned over the presence of the reptiles, one in a popular swimming area, and one in a landowners small pond.

A normal Monday at Lake Hawkins beach, with swimmers and sunbathers enjoying themselves, until one person spotted a 3-to 4 foot alligator coming to the shore nearby.

"A lot of people panicked, a lot of people were afraid. I had never seen one until that day," said witness Matt Ensley.

A week ago , Bruce Wofford had a gator show up at his small White Oak pond.

“Drove in one day, saw something swimming around and it was a small alligator. Called the local game warden, they can help you out , caught it and relocating it,” he says.

Ensley was working at Hawkins lake and calmly encouraged the gator to leave.

"it tried to come up on to the bank. I went in the water and shooed it off , and it went on its own happy merry way," he says.

It's long been known that alligators are in lake Hawkins, and they've been spotted before cruising around the swim area.

"Maybe in search of food or something like that," says Texas game warden Todd Long.

It was 3 years ago that a large gator was seen near the Hawkins beach area.

But the sightings are no reason for alarm. This is the time of year alligators are on the move.

"They are traveling this time of year, it is breeding season, mating season, and many times that is the reason for these different sightings. They're being spotted all over our East Texas lakes, not a cause for concern," Long says.

Though there's never been a recorded attack by an alligator on a human in East Texas, the fear remains.

"I understand the concern. People say well I don't want to be the first statistic. But they do not pose a threat," says Long.

Game wardens urge the public that if you see an alligator, simply let it go its own way.

If it’s in a populated area and deemed a ‘danger’, game wardens can capture and relocate the animal.

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