KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
November 4, 2019
By Natalie Cook Clark
Over the weekend, an alligator was spotted at the Cinco Ranch Water Park in Katy, a popular location for photo sessions and nature walks. To keep your family safe, remember to be mindful of your surroundings, especially near bodies of water.
Photo credit: Luis Monch
Gators in Katy
Luis Mario Rodríguez Mönch spotted a gator over the weekend at the Cinco Ranch Water Park, 20419 Hamptonshire.
"I see a lot of people walking their pets around and/or photoshoots," Monch wrote on Facebook. "Keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings, always."
A gator of this description has been seen before in Cinco Ranch. Gators and other wildlife are frequently seen around Katy. There have been many sightings of gators in bayous and ponds over the years, but no reports of attacks. With Katy's growing population, gators and humans may cross paths more than they have in past years so awareness is important.
According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), "Most Texans in 'gator country' will live in close proximity to these native reptiles with no confrontations."
Encountering a Gator
The TPWD says alligators have a natural fear of humans and will usually retreat upon seeing them, and says it's uncommon for gators to approach humans. Yet, Katy families need to be careful.
The TPWD says if the alligator is not bothering people or posing an obvious threat, wait a few days if possible - even up to a week - before contacting them. In spring and summer, alligators are moving to breed and find new habitats. Most of the alligators moving around are smaller ones that have been pushed out of their normal habitat by larger gators. Usually, these smaller gators will move further on in a week or two.
If the gator is a nuisance, such as seen to be approaching people or is an obvious threat, the TPWD advises calling the law enforcement communications center at 713-779-8977.
Safe Practices for Katy Families
The best preventative practice is to maintain constant supervision of children when they play near any bodies of water like bayous. Teach children to be aware of their surroundings and to back away if they encounter a gator.
Do not let children play around lakes, ponds, or swamps unsupervised.
Let children know where gators could be, and to stay alert in these areas.
Warn children about the dangers of gators and what to do if they encounter one: leave the alligator alone, maintain a distance of approximately 30+ feet, and leave the area.
Remind children to stay away from the edges of lakes, ponds, or swamps.
Advise children not to go after balls or toys that landed in a lake, pond, or swamp.
Keep pets enclosed or on a leash in areas where there are gators.
Be aware of fishing lines or hooks that can attract gators due to their similarities to natural food.
The TPWD says families can watch alligators as long as they are from a safe (30 feet or more) distance, adding, "Wild alligators are an important part of Texas's natural history, as well as an integral component of many wetland ecosystems."
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