North Texas

Alligator Spotted Near Downtown Fort Worth

Alligator likely displaced by high river water, said to returning home

High river and lake levels continue to impact wildlife in North Texas.

Around Panther Island Pavilion in Fort Worth, one can see turtles reaching the shoreline, blue herons flying, more turtles swimming and, lately, an alligator.

"We noticed it a couple of days ago and we've been monitoring it very closely," said Matt Oliver, spokesperson for the Trinity River Vision Authority.

Gwen Moravec and her running group spotted the gator along the river around 9 a.m. this past Saturday, a rare enough sight that required a few photos that she posted to Twitter.

On Monday, TRVA personnel saw the alligator near the heart of Panther Island and have been watching it closely ever since. While some people spotted it in the area as recently as Wednesday night, TRVA staff says it appears to be moving out of the area.

"It's making its way up stream now, and it's kind of making its way where it can get back to where it belongs," Oliver said.

Alligators are known to be in the Trinity, which is their historic habitat. But most gators in Tarrant County are found near the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge and the river north from there. It's unusual to see them near the heart of downtown, especially near so much traffic, people, cars, bikes and more in and around the Trinity Trails.

"It's not something that never happens when you get rains the way we've had," Oliver said.

High river levels more than likely displaced the gator, but there's no concern it'll impact people.

Thursday night's first Rockin' the River event on the Trinity had already been moved indoors to The Shack due to the water level and its fast moving current.

As for those who may see the alligator on the banks of or in the Trinity, Oliver says to treat it like its fellow reptiles.

"You know turtles are very docile, keep to themselves, but if you go around a turtle and you start messing with it, that's when it can be harmful," he said. "So it's kind of one of those things that if you see it you don't mess with it."

In the meantime, TRVA staff will keep watching for the gator as it is believed to be making its way north on the river where photos are a lot harder to come by.

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