A Texas restaurant owner from Missouri City had to wrangle an alligator before taking his daughter to school Tuesday morning.
In addition to being a restaurant owner, Mike Trinh is also an MMA fighter.
Trinh’s daughter was the first to spot the alligator on August 16. She promptly went back into the house to alert her father.
“She ran back [and] told me there was a gator in front of the house,” Trinh said in an interview with Fox Weather.
The father, at first, did not believe his daughter’s report.
“I thought she was playing, trying to skip school,” he explained. “I said, ‘No, you’re going to school.'”
But when he went outside, “that thing was waiting right in front of my door,” Trinh said. “It was right there in my yard.” He said the animal, about 5 to 6 feet long, was hissing.
Trinh, who also has a black belt in jiu-jitsu, shared that he decided to handle the alligator on his own when he could not get in touch with someone quickly enough.
He put towels over the animal’s head and used a sledgehammer to keep its mouth pinned closed.
“Once I got closer, I put my knee on it, and kind of like jiu-jitsu, it’s called knee in the belly. I had a knee on it and spun to the back, sitting on the back, and I just grabbed the mouth,” Trinh explained to KKTV. “Once you grab the mouth, that’s it.”
Trinh was then able to get the reptile into the back of his truck. The victor released the unwelcome visitor at Oyster Creek.
Alligators under 10 to 12 feet found on private property are not considered emergencies, according to a game warden interviewed by KKTV. In contrast, alligators on public property are considered emergency situations.
Director of Fort Bend County Animal Services, Rene Vasquez, told Fox, “We like to normally handle anything between 4 feet and 5 feet and under,” Vasquez said. “Anything bigger than that, we always like to call the game warden.”
“Alligators are protected animals in the state of Texas,” explained Vasquez. “As we all know, we’ve had no rain, a drought, and so a lot of their ditches, bayous, [and] ponds are drying up.” The director said, “If people have sprinkler systems, believe it or not, they will come up to water.”
Vasquez added that alligators are surprisingly fast animals. They can sprint over short distances and fight with their tails.
Even though Trinh was able to wrangle the alligator without harming it or himself, Texans who run into these reptiles should contact professionals for help.
The American alligator found in Texas will typically avoid people, according to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), but they can be a nuisance when they cross paths with humans.
“As human populations in Texas continue to expand, there have been an increased number of encounters between people and alligators,” the TPWD website states.
“Alligators have been known to prey on pets and must be treated with caution,” the state agency warns.