Port Aransas officials remove ‘Dollar Store Gator’ after residents began throwing glass, items at it

Port Aransas called in experts to remove a 10-foot male alligator hanging out at a creek near a Dollar Store over concerns that it was too comfortable with humans.

Officials said the estimated 400-pound alligator had been lurking in the city limits since the summer and may have been in the area for almost two years. The reptile had become such a common sight that residents nicknamed it “Dollar Store Gator,” according to the city’s animal control officer Richard Gleason.

“He’s been showing up on and off for months to the point where half the island was feeding him, and the other half was throwing things at him like glass, rocks and other items,” Gleason said. “No matter what though, he just wasn’t leaving.”

Gleason said the police were getting at least 10 calls a day about people harassing the alligator. Despite the harassment, Gleason said the reptile “wasn’t scared of people anymore” and would walk up to individuals near the creek.

For the safety of the people and the alligator, Gleason said they had to remove him.

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Licensed trappers Gary and Shannon Saurage from Beaumont attempted to catch the the alligator on three different occasions before they finally caught him on Monday, Gleason said.

“It was quite a catch,” Gleason said. “It took about four or five of us to get him on the truck. He even peeled my skin a bit from sliding down my arm. He was ridiculously strong.”

The Saurages transported the alligator Tuesday morning to their Gator Country Adventure Park in Beaumont, which houses more than 450 alligators and crocodiles they have received through rescues and donations.

Gleason said the alligator wouldn’t have been taken away if people left it alone and urged people to keep a safe distance from wildlife.

“This is their home too,” he said.

Priscilla Aguirre is a general assignment reporter for MySA.com | [email protected] | @CillaAguirre