Text and photos by Paula Dittrick, TMN CPC blogmaster
The Texas Master Naturalist Coastal Prairie Chapter Fall 2021 class recently met for herpetology class and a field trip at Brazos Bend State Park, marking the first in-person event for this particular class given a 4th wave pandemic and Fort Bend County precautions. The outdoor event also marked the last class of the fall course. It was graduation day.
David Heinicke, a Brazos Bend State Park park ranger, helped teach the class and then took one of three TMN CPC small groups on a hike. He already knew there were reports of an alligator across the path, and he told his group about it. As the group neared the alligator, other visitors told Heinicke about the gator.
Some park visitors tried clapping to get the alligator to move, but that strategy failed. Park visitors greeted Heinicke happily as though he were the Lone Ranger come to save the day.
Heinicke persuaded the alligator to turn around and it then laid down again slightly off the path.
With the alligator pointed toward the water, Heinicke explained that this was a safer situation because people could now pass without getting between the alligator and water. Heinicke said a startled alligator always heads for water, and people should never get between an alligator and water.