Later, Gator

 Our dogs bring us all sorts of items; balls, newspaper, slippers and alligators! Imagine your surprise when your loving, faithful dog proudly drops a baby alligator at your feet. In the wetlands of Florida this isn’t an unusual occurrence, but in Texas the population of alligators is still low enough that personal interaction is usually limited. The big exception is Brazos Bend Park where the alligators are too numerous to count.  Click here to learn more about this unique park.  They are very visible on bright days during the fall and winter as they warm themselves in the sun. The American alligator is a textbook case of how protection of a species can allow it to recover from extinction. In 1967 it was determined that alligator would become extinct in much of its territory if intervention did not occur and it was placed under protection six years before the landmark Endangered Species Act. U. S. Fish and Game working with state agencies enforced this protection and with the help of alligator farms has allowed the populations to recover. It is one of the few species that has moved from the endangered list to the threatened list. Because of the alligator’s protected status the Wildlife Center contacted Texas Parks and Wildlife to inform them that we had one in our possession. It is not unusual for the Wildlife Center to receive species that must be declared to Texas Parks and Wildlife. Based on the size, we estimate that it was hatched this spring. The alligator will be over wintered and released in the spring when prey is plentiful and he won’t look as tasty. It is estimated that 80% of hatchlings do not survive to the [...]