Gator sighting in Galveston Bay has some on edge


Early Wednesday morning, a man who was fishing in Galveston Bay says he was dangling his feet off of the Pelican Bay pier when a very large gator swam by. Now the fisherman is concerned about the children and adults who swim and kayak in that area.

Steve Clark went through these exact motions: Walking down the pier of his La Porte community on Galveston Bay, prepping his rod and reel.

"I was catching and releasing fish," he said.

The only difference, it was about two o'clock in the morning as he dangled his feet off the pier. And at that hour, a loud splash didn't quite seem right.

"The size of the splash sounded almost like a lab jumping into the bay," Clark said.

After that, Clark was the one doing the jumping as he saw an alligator cruising by.

"He could have had dinner or early breakfast this morning," Clark said.

The people who live in this woods on the bay area say they've never seen an alligator here.

"Down the coast is Sylvan Beach, which has a beachfront and kids come from all over to swim, we need him somewhere else," Clark said.

And there is concern someone in the neighborhood may be tossing food to him in the salty water.

"Any body of water they can live in, but we do have a very healthy population of American alligators in the Houston area," said Christopher Bednarski, senior keeper of herpetology at the Houston Zoo.

Bednarski says that's not a good idea.

"That could get someone's dog eaten, child attacked, something like that. Like I said they are not aggressive animals to begin with but when associated with people and food, it turns into a different story," Bednarski said.

Clark wants to warn his neighbors.

"We've all got to be careful," neighbor Becky Peter said.

His story certainly has them talking.

"Well I want to make sure he's on a leash because he'd be an appetizer for an alligator," Peter said.

And while it's not going to stop him from overnight fishing, he's not going to take any unnecessary chances.

"Much more aware of dangling legs over the edge of that pier," Clark said.

Clark says he estimates the alligator was seven to eight feet long.

Texas Parks and Wildlife says while alligators are typically found in freshwater, they can tolerate brackish water as well.

Copyright © 2023 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.