"Here we go looking for some eggs," said Alligator Nuisance Control Hunter Gator Chris, while hopping into a helicopter, headed out on a Brazoria County egg hunt that was not for kids. There was no candy in the eggs they were seeking. The payoff is more long-term: helping control a booming alligator population.
"We're just spotting nests and they're picking them up," Chris said.
He went along with licensed collectors who ship the eggs to farms out of state. On one 3,000 acre ranch near Angleton, Chris said, "We found 17 alligator nests, with 35 to 40 eggs in each nest."
He added, "The number of alligators coming our direction every year is astonishing."
They are coming our way. Brazoria County has one of the largest local alligator populations, and just like we use roads and highways to get around, alligators ride their own network of trenches and tunnels that can shoot them out in the drainage pond of your neighborhood subdivision.
"Terror, oh god we have an alligator in the neighborhood," said Bill Brangwynne, President of the Ravenswood Lake HOA in Cypress.
That was the reaction when a young alligator first reared his head in Ravenswood Lake. But the HOA brought in Gator Chris to post some signs and teach neighbors about living near gators.
"People are the problem every time," said Chris. "They start feeding the alligator, it starts losing its fear of people and then it starts hanging around people looking for food."
Brangwynne added, "There's ways to handle them. Basically don't feed them and you won't have a problem and we haven't had a problem."
Gator Chris is now working on two more contracts with Fort Bend County HOAs, and as more subdivisions crop up, he says the gators will only keep coming.
He said, "There's really no way to prevent it, except to take them out in larger numbers, which is the egg collecting."
Taking a proactive approach from the air, to stop what crawls through the land and water… Plus gators are easier to move before they grow teeth.