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Gator tales circulate at lake

Profile image for By Megan Gray-Hatfield
By Megan Gray-Hatfield

Residents report sightings of reptile that’s native to area

HICKORY CREEK — Whether you have seen an alligator looming along the shores of Lewisville Lake or not, residents urge visitors to swim with caution.

Amber Rodgers said about two weeks ago she was put on high alert when she came across a 6-foot scaly reptile while enjoying the water near her lakefront home.

Rodgers, who kayaks regularly, said she had been busy working one day and went out on the water to unwind. Then she said she saw a head and about 4 feet of body lurking above the water.

“I initially thought what I was seeing was a log, but a log just doesn’t disappear right in front of your eyes,” she said. “I actually had to do a double-take, because I wasn’t believing what I was seeing.”

This is the first alligator sighting for Rodgers since she has lived in the Lakeview at Pointe Vista subdivision for 11 years.

Lately, Rodgers’ friends and neighbors have shared similar experiences with her, and she thinks the sightings might be related to the area’s growth.

“We are encroaching on their habitat, I get it,” Rodgers said. “I want them protected, but my main priority is for my children ages 10 and 11 to stay safe and out of the water.”

Even though Corinth resident Don Perkins didn’t know about the recent sightings Saturday afternoon, he was glad to be informed.

“Nice to know,” Perkins said while drying off his boat at the Point Vista boat ramp. “We usually stop at the shallow area. … I would not be taking anyone to go swim, had I known.”

David Workman of Denton said he has been out on the water there for several years and compared the sightings to a Loch Ness Monster.

“I’ve raised my daughter on these waters and she is now 32 years old. I haven’t seen an alligator yet,” he said. “I’m not saying they aren’t there, I just haven’t seen one. I have seen reports about them, though.”

Texas Parks and Wildlife Capt. Cliff Swofford said gators are native to the area.

“They are indigenous here,” he said. “The reports and sightings come and go over the years, but to my knowledge there have been no people or animal attacks.”

Swofford said the reptiles keep to themselves and urged residents not to feed them because that’s when they become dangerous.

“They will associate you as food then,” he said.

He also added that unless someone’s life is in immediate danger, it’s illegal to shoot an alligator.

The fine for shooting one varies, he said, but it can range from a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 and no jail time to a Class A misdemeanor, which involves a higher fine and jail time.

Rodgers said she would like game wardens to warn residents about the recent reports.

“Can they prove without a doubt that nobody over the years that has drowned in the lake wasn’t dragged down into the water by an alligator?” she said. “We just want to be protected.”

Swofford said it’s up to a biologist to determine if signs are needed, and the Hickory Creek side of Lewisville Lake isn’t the only site of reported alligator sightings this summer. Some have been reported at Lake Worth and Eagle Mountain Lake, he said.

“There’s really nothing to be scared of,” he said. “Alligators have been in that water forever.”

MEGAN GRAY-HATFIELD can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.