An estimated 9-foot-long alligator was seen near Lewisville Lake on Monday afternoon while routine maintenance was being performed by lake personnel, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Lake manager Rob Jordan said the alligator was spotted in a wildlife management area near one of the monitoring gauges and he was soon alerted about the reptile where “several other staff members” were also present.
Jordan said the gator was in a drainage ditch at the toe of the dam on the downstream side of the lake near the Elm Fork of the Trinity River and adjacent to a swampy area that is inundated with water being released from the lake.
“I have seen them before in that vicinity, but it’s not common,” Jordan said, while adding that the rains have added more moisture to the area. “They follow the moisture and there is a lot of swamp and marshland, so that’s prime habitat for them.”
He said the area is closed to the public and the alligator was left in the wildlife management area.
Jordan said wildlife management is part of his job and alligators are just a “part of the ecosystem,” so there is no reason for removal.
He has been the Lewisville Lake manager for five years and said that while an alligator hasn’t been spotted in that exact spot before, other sightings have been reported within half of a mile in the same wildlife management area in Lewisville.
Officials said alligators are typically shy of humans, but if residents see one, they should stay away and not try to feed it.
Jordan said he has not seen an alligator anywhere on the lake, but reports of sightings are occasionally made.
“It’s still not common and the last time I remember a sighting was last year at Hickory Creek,” he said. “Before that, there was one spotted on the Little Elm side, but that was before my time seven or eight years ago.”
In a past interview with the Denton Record-Chronicle, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Capt. Cliff Swofford said alligators 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.”
Last July, residents in the Lakeview at Pointe Vista subdivision in Hickory Creek reported seeing an alligator and they wanted wardens to warn lakegoers about the creatures.
Swofford said then 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.