Gator Country staff in Beaumont, Texas, are patrolling the 15-acre preserve to be sure no reptiles escape if and when Tropical Storm Harvey’s flood waters creep up to the top of their enclosures' fences

By Saryn Chorney
August 29, 2017 04:45 PM

Gator Country, an alligator sanctuary in Jefferson County, Texas, houses about 350 gators just on the outside of its facility (about 750 total, counting those inside) — and owner Gary Saurage tells KDFM Fox 4 News the water is rising and he’s worried they could escape.

“We’re less than a foot from (water) going over the fences,” Saurage said. “All of these are certified, high fences, but when it won’t quit, it won’t quit. We’ve worked around the clock and I don’t know what else to do. We’re truly tired. Everybody’s at the end of it, man. We don’t know what to do … I’ve never seen (the water) stay anywhere near this before. The staying power of this storm is just unbelievable.”

Big Al and Big Tex, Gator Country’s biggest reptiles at 13-ft.-long each, are in trailers, but Saurage warns that even fenced-in gators could float over the fence tops if the water rises high enough. Currently, the facility is less than 1 ft. of rainfall away from the water going over the fences.

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While Saurage says his alligators should be fine — apparently only two got out of their enclosures, and they were caught— he cautions that the wild alligators coming out of the bayou are the ones people should most worry about, along with venomous snakes. Saurage claims to have seen 18 snakes on Monday, all of them poisonous, in addition to the various wild alligator rescues his crews are performing.

Most importantly, Saurage says residents in flooded neighborhoods and the surrounding areas need to beware of wild alligators seeking out higher ground. Stay away from any gators seen on lawns or in garages; call for proper trained help to come remove them.

Meanwhile, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office advised about the alligator situation on Twitter. Those affected by the rain and flooding should “expect them to be displaced. Simply looking for higher ground.”