UPDATE: A reptile believed to be the alligator in the below article was found, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. On March 29, a Llano County Sheriff’s Office deputy spotted the alligator and trapped it until a game warden took possession of it, a spokesman said. The creature, believed to be an American alligator, was found in Kingsland close to where it was first spotted. Officials said it will be relocated closer to its more natural habitat.
STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
KINGSLAND — Just how likely would it be to see an alligator in the Highland Lakes?
“Sightings are uncommon,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokesman Steve Lightfoot. “They do occur, so it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility.”
That’s about what Kingsland resident Tim Lewis thought on March 25 when he captured two photos of what he believed to be an American alligator in an area on Game Street in Kingsland.
“We were out driving around, looking at garage sales, and that’s when I saw it cross the road,” Lewis said.
“I thought it was a lizard, that someone had lost their lizard,” he added.
He took out his camera, scampered over to the brush, and shot two photos before the nearly 3-foot reptile disappeared.
“It was unusual to say the least,” Lewis said. “I thought it’s probably somebody’s pet (alligator) that got too big to take care of.”
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Llano County Sheriff’s Office investigated, but officials said they did not find the creature.
However, officials did confirm what Lewis captured on camera.
“It’s definitely a gator,” Lightfoot said. “They’re native to this area, but it’s really uncommon to have them in Llano County.”
In the past two decades, game wardens have verified alligators in habitats from Choke Canyon in South Texas to as far north as the Lampasas River.
“We had instances,” Lightfoot said. “If you feed them, they tend to become a nuisance because they seek that food supply.”
Despite the fact that the Lone Star State allows regional alligator hunting with a license, permit, and within a specific season, residents should think twice before sharpening their Bowie blades.
“If they’re not a nuisance, we encourage people to just leave them alone,” Lightfoot said. “If it looks like the animal is at risk or causing a public health or safety problem, we’ll take steps to relocate it.”
To report an alligator sighting in the Highland Lakes, contact local law enforcement.