Anyone boating southeast Texas during the summer months stands a good chance of seeing an alligator.
On July 9 – 10, 2010, my son, my son-in-law, a friend of the family and I went camping at Bluff 1 – which is a primitive camping spot on the Angelina River. We got up that morning, and headed down stream to another camping spot that has nice rope swing. While we were going down the river, we saw a gator eating on something. At the time we did not pay any real attention to it and kept driving the boat to the place we wanted to go swimming.
Well, on the way back we saw the gator again – and it saw us. As soon as we came into view, the gator broke of its attack on the dead turtle, and headed into a slew. We were not trying to harass the gator, in fact we kept our distance to about 100 feet, or more.
The gator was swimming at a pretty good rate and instead of following it, we turned around to look at what the gator was eating on. At first we thought it was a hog – because the corpse had a dark spot. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a large fresh water turtle that had been dead for some time.
The Angelina River, Neches River and sloughs and attach to the rivers are perfect habitat for alligators. The river channels offer deep water habitat, while the sloughs offer areas where the water barely moves.
It seems when alligator breeding season comes around the alligators will move into the sloughs and shallow water areas. There have been times when I saw fresh hatched gators near the bank of the sloughs, while the full grown gators hang out in the river.
Wildlife in the Rivers:
Turtles found in the river range from your typical river turtle to alligator snapping turtles.