Texas game warden discovers 8-foot ‘pet’ alligator in woman’s backyard

Woman faces up to $1,000 in fines and fees for possessing alligator illegally

Texas Parks and Wildlife discovered a seven foot alligator in a woman's backyard. The woman told game wardens it was her pet, but state law sees it differently.

BUDA, Texas – Texas Parks And Wildlife Department (TPWD) discovered an eight-foot alligator in a woman’s backyard. She told game wardens it was her pet, but state law sees it differently.

TPWD discovered an American alligator while investigating another case in Buda, just south of Austin.

“It was very friendly with her,” Game Warden Joann Garza said.

They learned a woman kept it as a pet without the proper permits to keep the alligator. She told game wardens she had cared for it for over two decades.

“She did take it a little bit tough, but she does still have to follow all of the rules and regulations in the state,” Garza said.

Texas law allows people to keep alligators if they are farming, educating or using them for zoological reasons.

The woman told investigators she was volunteering at the Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo in New Braunfels and stole an alligator egg.

“Alligators will have a nest of 50, 60 eggs at a time. So it would have been very easy for someone to take an egg or a hatchling home just kind of without anyone noticing,” said Jarrod Forthman, director of Animal World & Snake Farm.

Game wardens said the alligator was healthy and well cared for, but it had outgrown the space the woman provided. It was recovered and returned to Animal World And Snake Farm Zoo.

The woman will face up to $1,000 in fines and fees for illegally possessing an alligator. Charges for stealing the egg are past the statute of limitations.

About the Authors:

Camelia Juarez is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2022. Camelia comes from a station in Lubbock, Texas. Now, she is back in her hometown. She received her degree from Texas State University. In her free time, Camelia enjoys thrifting, roller-skating and spending time with family and friends.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.