Friday's Hurricane Harvey, which was initially termed a Category 4 hurricane by The National Hurricane Center, winded down to a storm by Saturday, but the devastation caused by the hurricane was described as "unprecedented" by meteorologists. In addition to officials reporting at least eight deaths caused by the natural disaster, a likely-to-increase death toll, some 30,000 in need of immediate shelter, houses submerged in water, bridge closures, and electricity outages in residential and commercial areas, Texans are now gearing up to face an alligator outbreak after Hurricane Harvey.
Locals reported several incidents of witnessing the reptiles in their backyards and sidewalks. And it is highly possible that the outbreak will persist for some time, according to alligator facility owners. In a comment to The Independent, an owner of an alligator facility, Gary Saurage, expressed bewilderment at the extent of damage caused by Harvey's downpour which he expects will affect the fences of the facility and allow alligators to escape the grounds.
"We’ve worked around the clock," Saurage told The Independent, "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." Heavy rainfall caused by the storm can lead alligators to seek higher and dry ground for survival and possible prey.
One local in Texas shared a video of an alligator calmly walking through the Sienna Plantations while another witnessed an alligator swim through Memorial Drive in Houston, Texas.
Another woman in Missouri City, Texas, reported that she saw two alligators idly swim in her backyard after Hurricane Harvey.
The outbreak is such a serious issue at this point that even the sheriff's office for Fort Bend issued a notice on alligators and how locals should handle the situation should they face one after the hurricane.
The advice is pragmatic. According to the office, the best thing to do in such a scenario is to simply leave the alligator alone. If you are facing such a situation, it is much safer to contact relevant wildlife authorities and experts who are trained in handling such animals.
Organizations like The Gator Squad are now preparing to address calls from locals to handle alligator sightings in residential spaces. The group predicted that the next few days after Hurricane Harvey will be inundated with calls from Texans seeking to safely remove alligators from their backyards.
And it isn't just alligators that Texans are fearing right now. In addition to the large-sized, intimidating, and often hungry creatures, locals fear that they will face snakes and rodents in the coming few days.