Residents Report Alligator in Lake Lewisville

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Some neighbors near Lake Lewisville are keeping a close eye on the water after alligator sightings were reported in the area. (Published Thursday, Jul 24, 2014)

    At first, Amber Rodgers just thought a log had drifted into the shores near her Hickory Creek home on Lake Lewisville.

    "I came out to the kayak and I noticed," said Rodgers. "I looked back over and I said, 'I swear that has to be an alligator.'"

    After it disappeared a few hours later and she spoke to her neighbors, she found that her gator suspicions may have been right on.

    Multiple folks in the neighborhood and on Rodgers' Facebook page reported spotting or hearing of an alligator in that part of the lake over the last few weeks.

    Kim Black's kids actually claim to have come across it just the week before.

    "[My son] Jake was joking about the line getting caught in the log and [my daughter] Mandy said, 'Uh, I don't think that's a log,'"said Black. "She said that's an alligator."

    After the teens took a closer look, they told their parents it was an alligator, about six-feet in length. Others report it being anywhere between four and six feet; many saying they had long thought gators in Lake Lewisville were just an urban legend.

    Experts say it's definitely not.

    Game Warden Capt. Cliff Swofford, with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said alligators are indigenous to the area and have actually been in the area for a long time, especially in the Trinity River system.

    According to the department's website, the American alligator is the only native species in the United States and was considered endangered until 1978.

    Swofford said they are still protected today, and it's illegal to kill one unless on your property in self-defense or during the designated gator-hunting season in the correct setting and with the correct licensing.

    However, Swofford also says they're not really something folks should be worried about. He says the department has had no reported attacks on humans or pets in North Texas that he knows about.

    The main concern, he says, are alligators becoming used to humans or unafraid of humans. That's why he insists people should not feed wild alligators they spot and give them a reason to come near.

    As long as they aren't coming near you and you leave them alone, Swofford says there should be no problem.

    Still, Rodgers and some of her neighbors aren't so sold.

    "I don't like it. I don't like it at all. It scares me," said Black. "We have a boat and I don't want to go in the water."

    "No, that is not ok. It's not ok," said Rodgers. "I would say you've got to be proactive rather than reactive, so let's take care of this situation before someone gets hurt."

    There have been other reports in past years of alligators in North Texas waters, including one in March 2013 when NBC 5 actually got video of one floating in the Eagle Mountain Dam Spillway.