Crews search for gator with taped mouth in Missouri City

MISSOURI CITY, Texas – Officials are searching for a 4-foot-long alligator spotted Sunday with its mouth taped shut at Buffalo Run Park in Missouri City, authorities said.

A kayaker said they saw the gator around noon and called a Texas game warden.

The game warden along, with a group called Gator Squad, had spent the afternoon trying to lure the reptile.

"The alligator apparently had been caught at some point and had electrical tape around its mouth and either had been re-released or got away from whoever was trying to catch it," Wyatt Pemberton, of Gator Squad, said.

The kayaker said the black tape could be seen around its mouth.

"We're out here to try to catch it, remove the tape and re-release it," Pemberton said.

Pemberton said it is dangerous for a gator's mouth to be taped shut.

"If their mouth is taped shut, they can't eat. That's plain and simple, and at some point the animal will have gone through all of its body fat and then it will expire," he said.

Officials said the search is a challenge because they’re doing so in a pond where there are other alligators from time to time.

"This is his habitat here. He lives here. From what we've heard, he's a really good alligator,” Pemberton said.