Roundup of wild Texas animal stories from 2023

Alligators, opossums and badgers — oh my!

Clockwise, from top left: A woman rescues a possum from a bar in Nacogdoches; a badger is seen on Mustang Island; newborn meerkats are seen at the San Antonio Zoo; and a mystery animal is seen at a state park in the Rio Grande Valley. (Courtesy)

SAN ANTONIO – Massive eels. Adorable baby meerkats. Nosey wild hogs. Texas had an interesting year when it came to stories about animals and wildlife.

From a woman getting attacked by a snake and hawk, to KSAT tagging along on a late-night frog expedition, here are some of the top animal headlines from KSAT in 2023:

Mystery creatures

Monkfish at H-E-B (KSAT 12)

Alligators in the news

  • Texas homeowner takes baby alligator as pet, receives citation: Just because it’s cute, doesn’t mean it would make a good pet. Police in Nacogdoches found a baby alligator being kept in a 40-gallon aquarium over the summer. The owner confessed to finding the alligator at a local river and keeping it, which is a no-no. The owner was issued a citation.
  • 10-foot alligator found on side of road in Atascosa County. ‘It was a heck of a sight.’: When the Atascosa County Animal Control responded to a call in March, they were met with a toothy and scaly surprise — an alligator between 10 and 11 feet long. Henry Dominguez, the chief and director of the Atascosa County Animal Control, told KSAT that while alligators are common in the area, this gator was larger than normal. He believed the animal was flooded out of its home. The gator was relocated by TPWD.

Oh, baby! Zoos welcome newborns in 2023

  • See adorable baby meerkats recently born at San Antonio Zoo: Meerkats returned to the San Antonio Zoo this year after a nearly three-decade absence with the birth of four meerkat pups. The meerkat habitat, located in Kronkosky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot, reopened in May — the first time meerkats have called the zoo home since the previous habitat closed 27 years ago.
Dallas Zoo warthog Tikiti (Dallas Zoo)

Rare sightings

Caught on camera

Texas state park officials are scratching their heads, trying to identify a “mystery animal” that was recently caught on a trail camera lurking around the Rio Grande Valley. (Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park/KSAT)
Diamondback water snake (Ed Means)

Dramatic rescues

Zelda is currently being taken care of by the Animal Defense League of Texas until she’s ready to be adopted. (KSAT/ACS)
  • 2-week-old kitten rescued from walls of San Antonio apartment complex needs foster family: That darn cat! A 2-week-old kitten was rescued from the wall of an apartment building in September. Though it’s unknown how the feline became trapped, firefighters, an animal care officer and an animal care cadet with ACS rescued the kitten by cutting a hole in the wall of one of the apartment units.
  • Seguin officer rescues cat stuck on a log on Guadalupe River: An animal services officer in Seguin got to cool off during the summer when he rescued a cat in the Guadalupe River. Animal Service Field Supervisor Brendon Moore waded into the water in full uniform to save the black cat as it was trapped on a log. The cat was later adopted.
  • Video shows Round Rock firefighters rescuing ducklings from storm drain: Ducks in Round Rock waddled themselves to a potentially dangerous situation in July. “What the duck?! Round Rock firefighters jumped into action to help save a crew of ducklings,” the city posted on Facebook. “Yep, they quackalacked their way right down into a storm drain with momma looking on to pull the little quackers to safety.”

When humans get involved

Honorable mentions from outside Texas:

About the Authors

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

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