Alligators visiting Pearland neighborhood

May 12, 2009 5:04:20 PM PDT
Alligators have been spotted walking around on sidewalks and even taking a dip in a backyard pool in one busy neighborhood in the Pearland area. It's a growing problem that has some people there concerned. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The gators live in the Lakes of Savannah subdivision off of Highway 6 and 288. It's a common enough warning from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department when the temperatures start to rise: don't touch, don't feed, and don't provoke the alligators. Residents are taking that message seriously.

The alligator in the pond in the southern part of Lakes of Savannah is one of the newest neighbors here, and probably one of the least popular, especially with the parents of small children.

"A lot of times, these gators are resting right here on this bank and they'll sit there and they'll go back in the water," said Stephon Davis.

Another neighbor, Sharon Moore, said, "I'm really just afraid that somebody's going to get hurt if they don't catch them."

Signs reading, 'Beware of alligator,' popped up in the last week or so, after neighbors complained of seeing the reptiles, not only in the man-made southern pond, but in a larger lake on the northern side of the subdivision as well.

"My understanding that this used to be rice fields and this is where they were before we moved out here, so I guess they're just reclaiming their space," said Sharon Moore.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said these ponds and lakes don't even need to be connected to a river or bayou for the gators to move in.

"Actually it's due to drought or sometimes excessive rain. That is what pushes them out of their habitat," said Albert Lynch of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

If the alligators at the Lakes of Savannah don't lose their fear of people, it's unlikely they'll be rounded up.

"It's a violation of law for someone to feed them and we recommend, highly recommend that you don't tease them. They're a beautiful animal. If you have to get a picture, we recommend you stay 25 to 30 feet away," said Lynch.

That's advice this father of four plans to take.

"I'm going to keep my kids away from the park at least until the management company or the Texas Wildlife get out here and can contain these gators and get them out of here," said Davis.

The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife is handling an increased number of alligator calls as the weather gets warmer. If you are nervous about an alligator in your neighborhood, you can call Parks and Wildlife and a warden will come out and evaluate the situation.

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