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VIDEO: Alligator Sightings Increase After Recent Flooding

Alligator in water | Image by Danita Delimont/Shutterstock
Alligator in water | Image by Danita Delimont/Shutterstock

Visitors to Eagle Mountain Lake in North Fort Worth may want to look twice before dipping their toes into the water, as alligators have recently been spotted swimming there.

Alligators are native to the Trinity River watershed and live in areas such as Lake Worth, Eagle Mountain Lake, and the Trinity River, per DFW Wildlife. Experts from Texas Parks & Wildlife told NBC 5 DFW that a small alligator population has existed at Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Worth for hundreds of years.

However, following recent major flooding across the Lone Star state, there has been an increase in alligator sightings, according to Jonathan Warner, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) alligator program leader.

“We as a department are getting lots of calls, mostly in [the] greater Houston area, for alligators that have been somewhat displaced after this flooding. We have alligators popping up in areas they’re not normally seen all over [the] eastern portion of the state right now,” Warner told NBC 5 DFW.

An increase in sightings can also be due to it being alligator mating season, Warner told NBC 5. Peak mating season occurs between March and May.

Alligators are a protected game animal in Texas, which means that a permit is required to hunt, raise, or possess them. It is a violation of state law to feed, kill, disturb, or attempt to move an alligator, according to an Alligator Awareness page posted on the City of Fort Worth website.

If you happen to encounter an alligator, it is best to let it be, as they can be dangerous if cornered or protecting a nest. Alligators naturally fear humans and will typically retreat when approached by people. While it is extremely rare for an alligator to chase people, they can run up to 35 miles per hour for a short distance on land, according to TPWD.

If an alligator is encountered at close range, it is best to back away slowly. Alligators should be viewed from a distance of at least 30 feet, per TPWD.

If an alligator walks straight towards you coming out of the water, it is legally considered a nuisance and needs to be reported to TPWD. This can be a sign that people have fed these alligators or they have been allowed to eat human food. Feeding an alligator is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.

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