With roughly 367 miles of coastline, some weird stuff is bound to wash up on shore in Texas.
A wild alligator from Louisiana though? That’s weirder than usual.
Members of the National Park Service’s sea turtle squad were out looking for sea turtle nests when they stumbled upon the gator washed ashore on Malaquite Beach near the Padre Island National Seashore.
It was discovered by members of the National Park Service’s turtle squad who were looking for sea turtles. The beach is more than 400 miles away from where the gator is believed to have originated.
Just outside of Corpus Christi, the Padre Island National Seashore is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world. It separates the Gulf of Mexico from Laguna Madre and is a popular place for outdoor recreation.
Speculation from Field & Stream indicates that one theory for the gators ocean bound adventure is related to extreme weather.
Over the past two months, severe storms have dropped substantial amounts of rain on Louisiana, including the the highest single total for rainfall in a single day. Flooding good have washed the gator out to see where the waters turbulence and salinity left the young reptile disoriented. The gator is believed to have then floated across the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall in Texas.
Kelly Taylor, the Public Information Office for the National Seashore told CNN:
“The alligator had a significant amount of algae on its back that leads us to speculate that it was floating in the Gulf for a while.”
While gators can survive in salt water for several days at a time, it is not ideal. This particular gator seemed to be dehydrated from over exposure to saltwater. It is being treated with plans for the gator to be released back into the wild at an undisclosed location.
While the gator is getting all of the attention, Padre Island is also known as pristine sea turtle habitat. The turtles come to shore this time of year to nest on the undeveloped beaches, and while protections are in place for the turtles they remain a major tourist attraction.