SUGAR LAND, Texas – Residents say gator attacks are on the rise in Sugar Land’s Oyster Creek.
About two weeks ago in mid-August, a boater who is a member of the Greater Houston Rowing Club had an alligator take a bite of his boat. And two weeks after that, another boater had a first-hand gator encounter.
Dee Conners is president of the Greater Houston Rowing Club and couldn’t believe what she saw, “I’ve been rowing there over 20 years, and this is the first time there’s ever been a gator attack.”
Conners says the first rower was sinking after the attack so he had to pull off to shore and walk the boat back.
She says the second rower wasn’t even phased and they are now both back on the water rowing as usual. Conners says as soon as she saw those bite marks on the boat, she called First Colony Community Services to see what could be done. First Colony Community Services owns the Greater Houston Rowing Club boat house.
Executive Director, Jack Molho says of course they wanted to do what they could to prevent this from happening again.
“I can’t tell you an attack I’ve heard of for decades,” explained Molho.
Molho says there wasn’t much they could do but put them in touch with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“The report was made that there was a nuisance created by the alligator. They put us in touch with a handler who takes care of the remediation with the alligator.”
Conners says they trapped one gator a week and a half ago.
“We don’t know if that’s the right gator, I mean they look all alike. Probably four days after they trapped that gator another boat got bitten by another gator or the same gator, who knows.”
But other avid boaters like Jimmy Mooney say even as the trappers work to capture the gators, he continues to see them a lot more frequently.
“I saw one today paddling,” explained Mooney. “It was maybe an 8-10 foot gator.”
Mooney has noticed a lot of bushes and trees cleared out along the shore which he thinks may be a reason they are emerging and acting more aggressively.
“It is their native habitat and regardless of what you’re doing you should be aware of your surroundings,” noted Molho. He says they get reports of gators all the time but never a gator attack.
Rowers like Jimmy and Dee hope these gators keep to themselves so they can continue to do what they love, in peace.
“Yea it’s scary,” noted Connors. “I say I got a little faster when I’m around those areas.”
- If the alligator is not approaching people or otherwise posing an obvious threat, wait a few days if possible - even up to a week - before contacting TPWD. In spring and summer, alligators are moving to breed and find new habitat. Most of the alligators moving around are smaller ones that have been pushed out of their normal habitat by larger alligators. Usually, these smaller alligators will move further on in a week or two.
- If you hear an alligator hiss, it’s a warning that you are too close.
- Alligators have a natural fear of humans and usually begin a quick retreat when approached by people. If you have a close encounter with an alligator a few yards away, back away slowly. It is extremely rare for wild alligators to chase people, but they can run up to 35 miles per hour for short distances on land. Never make the mistake of thinking that an alligator is slow and lethargic. Alligators are extremely quick and agile and will defend themselves when cornered. A female protecting her nest might charge a person who gets close to the nest, but she would quickly return to the nest after the intruder left.