The point of view expressed on this page is not necessarily that of the Lufkin Kiwanis Club.
Alligators are native to Texas and have been inhabitants longer than white men and probably even longer than native Indians. In the years that Ellen Trout Zoo has been in existance, as many as four alligators have been spotted in Ellen Trout Lake. About a year ago I was with my 6 year old granddaughter while she was playing on the jungle gym which is located near the lake at the zoo. I noticed two fairly large alligators sunning themselves just around the corner from the play area. I tried to approach to get a picture but they immediately went into the water.
It is important to understand that the zoo did not put these alligators in the lake. They can be removed but more will eventually get into the lake because alligators are known to inhabit other nearby lakes and they can migrate.
Just how dangerous are these alligators. In the history of Texas there have been two recorded attacks by alligators, both non fatal, both involved swimmers (and no swimming is allowed in Ellen Trout Lake), and both instances involved alligators that were being fed by humans. When we feed alligators they lose their fear of humans and will approach closer than otherwise looking for a handout. The alligators at Ellen Trout Lake have not been fed by humans. They eat gar, snakes and other water species. If they are removed it will upset the balance of nature and the next thing to happen is too many snakes, or the lake taken over by gar. Then what, we must catch all the snakes or gar or empty the lake of all the fish ?? Are we going to have to remove all the alligators from Lake Rayburn ??? I personally would prefer the alligators, they are just as afraid of us as we are of them, so why not leave them alone and let the balance of nature continue.
This is another example of the things happening in our society today. One or two people yell about something and immediately we have to over react. If you feel as I do that we should leave the native alligators alone, then contact the Lufkin Chamber of Commerce and let them know. Send email to theCity Council
The following should be of interest.
I worked for an oil company for 32 years. I have traversed many swamps, marshes and shallow water bottoms in the state of Louisiana. Most of the swamps was traversed on foot, the marshes on marsh buggies and the shallow water bottoms by small boat. I have encountered many alligators at very close quarters. I don't think that any of them ever had it in their mind to attack a human. I firmly believe that alligators are as much afraid of humans as most humans are afraid of alligators. One hot summer day while carrying a transit through the swamp, on my shoulder, in knee deep water, fighting mosquitos and watching for snakes, I had the privilege of stepping on the back of what I think was about a six foot alligator. Need less to say, with all the thrashing around, I got completely soaked with swamp water, the alligator departed the area never to be seen again. With all the hundreds of thousands of man hours worked in the Louisiana swamps, by the oil industry, I have never heard of a human being attack by an alligator. Alligators do feed on small animals and rodents, so when you head for the swamp leave your pet cat and Pekingese home.
Member: Lufkin Kiwanis Club
Last updated 4/8/2000
Page F. Preston