Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Alligators - Where to see them in their natural habitat

There are occasional reports of alligator sightings along Buffalo Bayou. There is even a warning sign in the Houston Arboretum at the boardwalk to the observation deck overlooking the bayou near the railroad trestle bridge.

But if you want to observe alligators in the wild, Houston-area bayous are not the best place to go on a reptilian safari. They are the main attraction of a nearby state park, where there are hundreds of them: Brazos Bend State Park off Highway 59 near George Ranch in the Richmond, Texas, area.

The alligators there are mostly passive, either floating in the water or basking on the shores in the sun. But that does not mean they are harmless. Alligator etiquette must be strictly observed. Obviously, you can't feed them. Nor are you allowed to approach them. For nature lovers and curious tourists alike the good thing is you don't have to go search for them, and don't have to take unnecessary risks. Adult and juvenile alligators populate multiple lakes in this huge park. They are easy to encounter both in the water on the shores, -- and to take pictures of (with zoom). You can even observe them from the fishing pier, or from the trail leading down to the fishing peer. Watch out! Sometimes they even come out to the trail. And don't fight an alligator for a fish you have on the line. Cut your line, and let him have it.

Brazos Bend State Park sign at access road to the park
Address: 21901 FM 762 Needville, TX 77461

Alligator warning sign at fishing pier in Brazos Bend State Park
Floating alligator's back exposed above the water surface in one of the lakes
Egret and alligator on lake shore

For more information on Brazos Bend State Park, check out the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department web site

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