Officials issue alligator warning in Del Valle - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Officials issue alligator warning in Del Valle

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This tall grass and murky water looks like a place where you might meet an alligator, but this isn't swamp land--it's a southeast Austin pond.

"The Del Valle Gator," said Sam Martinez has lived in Del Valle for ten years.

He's never seen the alligator, but his wife has.

Sam said, "She was walking the track and she said she saw what looked like to alligator eyes above the water, and then submerged down. I told her she was crazy."

Residents say alligator safety signs went up a couple of days ago.

"The signs here, on this piece of property, were put up by the property owners," said Chris Sanchez, a game warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "It's the owners that contacted our department...we need to educate folks about what's going on in that body of water."

We weren't able to catch the gator on camera, but Sanchez shared this picture with us.

Plus, another from someone who lives in the neighborhood.

"It’s a good, nice little warning, but at the same point in time my concern is for the kids," said Sam.

Surrounding the alligator habitat is a walking trail...and just off to the side is a playscape and basketball court. Plus, two schools are just about a block away.

"Definitely makes me nervous," said Sam. "I have a young son, a 10-year-old. He likes to walk the track with me and I have to have him walk in the middle of the lane now."

Sanchez said, "The concern would be those people that chose to disregard the signage."

"These kids are going to test the waters literally, when they see that sign, to go see if there really is an alligator over there. How close can a day reach other to get close to that water, that's kids being kids," said Sam.

It's called the American alligator and it's native to Texas.

Sam said, "I understand wildlife has the right to be where it's at, I'm all for that, but again, it's in an area where it's super close to kids and community."

But if problems arise, Sanchez says there are removal procedures in place.

"We have contracted nuisance alligator hunters that would be issued permits if the criteria was met to remove an alligator from a specific area," said Sanchez.

Consider the mystery of the Del Valle alligator solved.

"I have seen the alligator here, less than two months ago," said Sanchez.

I said, to Sam, "I guess you owe your wife an apology."

Sam answered, "I do. I do. I owe her a margarita."

The game warden adds that anyone who disregards the rules posted on the signs, could be in violation of state law, which means you could face a fine or even be arrested.

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