Sunday, December 10, 2023

Photo of alligator on I-35W ramp reignites concern

A screenshot of the drone video of an alligator on March 30 near Argyle, courtesy of Mike Mirfield

A recent photo of an alligator in southern Denton County is circulating on social media, reigniting concern that sparked in March when a large gator was spotted nearby.

The new photo, taken by Amanda Maestas on Friday, shows a large alligator crossing the I-35W southbound exit ramp at Crawford Road near Argyle. It is just a stone’s throw away from the location where an alligator was spotted in a marshy pond near that I-35W interchange in March.

Denton County Emergency Services District No. 1 — which provides fire and emergency services in Lantana, Argyle and surrounding areas — said in a social media post this weekend that other residents within the district have also recently reported alligator sightings.

Gator sightings in this area are not common, but also not shocking, Jonathan Warner, alligator program leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said in March.

“Dallas-Fort Worth is at the edge of their natural distribution in Texas,” Warner said. “Every year a few pop up here and there.”

Warner said then that if the gator sticks around, there’s no reason to remove it unless it becomes an imminent public safety threat to a person or pet, or if someone feeds it and it loses its natural fear of humans. If moved, there’s a decent chance the gator could show back up again soon after.

“I understand why people, especially those who aren’t familiar with alligators, would want us to move it,” Warner said. “But they have an incredible homing ability, so if it wants to get somewhere, it can travel over land for many miles.”

ESD No. 1 provided several alligator tips, including that it is against the law to feed, possess, harass or kill alligators. Residents should avoid swimming and other water activities in areas with alligators, closely supervise children in and around the water and don’t let pets in or near waters that could have alligators. If you hear an alligator hiss, move away, you are too close. If you see one in the roadway, don’t try to move it, but instead call the local authorities.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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