10-foot alligator found on side of road in Atascosa County. ‘It was a heck of a sight,’ animal control chief says

Atascosa County Animal Control says alligators are common in that area — but not this large

When the Atascosa County Animal Control responded to a call on Thursday morning, they discovered an alligator on FM 140 off US 281, near Campbellton. (Atascosa County Animal Control)

ATASCOSA COUNTY – When the Atascosa County Animal Control responded to a call on Thursday morning, they were met with a toothy and scaly surprise.

In a Facebook post, officers said they discovered an alligator on the road on FM 140 off US 281, near Campbellton.

“NOPE... We don’t do this...Just cats and dogs,” the post said.

Henry Dominguez, the chief and director of the Atascosa County Animal Control, told KSAT that while alligators are common in the southern end of the county, this one was “a little bit bigger than normal.”

He estimated the alligator was between 10 and 11 feet long, while they typically see them between 5 and 6 feet long.

“It was a heck of a sight for people to see this morning,” he said.

The officers then contacted Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. With the help of TPWD and a ranchhand, they pushed the alligator to a local pond.

Dominguez said TPWD is not planning on relocating the alligator, which they believe wandered away from its home due to heavy rain on Wednesday night.

“We had a lot of rain down there, that possibly whatever pond it was in got flooded and it flooded him out to the roadway,” he said. “He will find his own way back to his own little house.”

He added that the area is rural and not public. If it was in a public area, then TPWD would likely have to relocate it.

“They’re rarely a problem, and most ranchers know they’re out there, so they don’t mess with them,” he said.

Alligators are also known to roam Choke Canyon State Park, which is south of Campbellton.

Those who come into contact with an alligator should not approach it, Dominguez said.

According to TPWD, if the alligator hisses, then it’s a warning that the person is too close.

“Never make the mistake of thinking that an alligator is slow and lethargic. Alligators are extremely quick and agile and will defend themselves when cornered,” TPWD states.

Alligators are active in the spring and summer seasons as they move to breed and find new habitats.

“American alligators normally avoid humans, but American alligators can become perceived as a nuisance when they establish territories around people,” TPWD’s website states. “As human populations in Texas continue to expand, there have been an increased number of encounters between people and alligators.”

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.