SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Alligators are not uncommon in the Rio Grande Valley, but according to a Naturalist Educator of the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, it is against the law to feed a wild alligator.
Javier Gonzalez said American alligators can be found along the Cameron County coast and eastern Hidalgo County in resacas and ponds.
Gonzalez and his team of specially trained rescuers recently received a phone call from security guards and Texas Parks and Wildlife, advising them about alligators at the South Padre Island Golf Club in Laguna Vista.
“When we got there the gators definitely showed no fear of people which is you know, a good sign that tells you that they were likely being fed by somebody,” said Gonzalez.
His team safely removed and relocated the alligators to their new habitat at the sanctuary.
He said the community needs to know the importance of not feeding wild alligators and alligator laws.
Feeding a wild alligator is against the law and there are some big finesJavier Gonzalez, Naturalist Educator – South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center, & Alligator Sanctuary
Gonzalez said the fines for feeding a wild alligator can be up to $500 or more, depending on the size of the alligator.
He explained that alligator attacks are extremely rare, but occur when alligators are fed and see humans as a food source, which results in loss of fear of people.
“At the end of the day most of the time it’s the alligator that suffers the consequences of our inappropriate behavior around them,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said the consequences could lead to putting the alligator down.
He explained that it is important for people to learn about the wildlife in our area and said people can get educated and have a great and safe view of alligators, birds, and other wildlife at the sanctuary.
Information on the South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center, and Alligator Sanctuary can be found on their website and Facebook page.