HOUSTON — It’s alligator mating season and trained wranglers like Tim DeRamus are racing to neighborhoods across the Greater Houston area to “save the gators from the public.”
DeRamus, 51, lives in Sheldon. He pulled an 11-foot 7-inch alligator from a shallow ditch in La Porte on Monday. Cellphone video captured the gator thrashing and whipping its tail as it was loaded onto a flatbed trailer.
“He was down in the bayou where the kids catch turtles and crawfish,” DeRamus said. “It didn’t feel safe for the kids to be down there. And so, they had us pick him up. And he’s going to go to Gator Country and live out the rest of his life.”
Gator Country is an alligator sanctuary near Beaumont. The larger gators DeRamus removes end up going there. Small gators, he explained, are relocated to waterways around the Houston area that are not near homes or businesses.
DeRamus, a general contractor, said he was trained by the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife about eight years ago. He’s now considered an urgent responder who relocates gators at the request of the state department.
“I catch about 250 alligators a year,” he said while explaining that he has caught at least 2,000 gators since he started in 2014. “This actually makes number 30 for the month.”
DeRamus wrestled a gator out of a woman’s front yard in Humble earlier this month.
“He was looking for shade. He was looking for shelter. He was looking for a way to get out of this heat.”
He said the gator and the homeowner spooked each other and the gator’s tail knocked her to the ground.
“The biggest misconception of alligators is they are attack animals and they are not attack animals. They’re more afraid of people than people are of them," he said.
People are phoning in more sightings to Texas Game Wardens this month, likely because gators are out looking to mate. Of the nearly 12-foot gator pulled from a ditch in La Porte yesterday, “he’s just so tired right now. Me and him had a 30-minute wrestle. But I think I won. I beat him one-handed. I got bit last Monday by a 10-foot 2-alligator in Galveston.”
The largest alligator DeRamus said he’s captured in the Houston area was just under 13-feet long. He describes gators as, “a natural cleanup for the environment. They eat a lot of the poisonous snakes.”
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