Rescuers learned of an alligator spending its days on a Texas beach when beachgoers started sharing videos of the large reptile in the sand.
Not long after, South Padre Island Birding Nature & Alligator Sanctuary partnered with a Texas game warden to rescue the 7.5-foot alligator from the shore.
“Obviously gators don’t belong on the beach,” one of the rescuers said. “They don’t really enjoy the surf, so it was a public safety issue and also (dangerous) for the gator’s health as well.”
Jacob Reinbolt, a herpetologist at the alligator sanctuary, told ValleyCentral it’s exhausting for alligators who “have to fight the surf.”
“He had been fighting the waves for who knows how long before someone even spotted him,” Reinbolt told the TV station. “By the time we got him he was exhausted. So it was definitely a rescue.”
Reinbolt shared a video of the rescuers pulling the alligator from waves as they crashed into the shore.
The 25-second video shared to Facebook shows the alligator fight back, flip over many times and finally make it safely to the sand.
The male alligator was taken to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, where he was released in an “appropriate habitat,” according to the alligator sanctuary.
It’s unclear how or why the alligator went to the beach, but one rescuer believed he might have been pushed there in a recent storm.
And while alligators don’t enjoy saltwater or a rough surf, Reinbolt said “the most likely scenario here is he went out looking for food and kind of got swept into the surf,” according to ValleyCentral.
South Padre Island is off the southern coast of Texas, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico.