Shoppers in an Aransas Pass, Texas Walmart were shocked earlier in the week to see a curious sight welcoming them as they waited for the store to open its doors for the day — an eight-foot alligator in the parking lot.
According to USA Today, the alligator was first spotted by a Walmart customer a few minutes before 6 a.m. CT on Wednesday morning, and appeared to be making its way to a nearby pond. Officers who arrived on the scene found the gator in the Walmart parking lot, then got in touch with the Texas Park and Wildlife Department to assist with wrangling the animal and moving it to a more suitable location.
CBS Dallas Fort Worth reported that the Aransas Pass Police Department found a sense of humor about the situation, documenting the sighting on Facebook and detailing it as if they were narrating a reality show.
“Here we bring you episode 1, Alligators of Walmart. Officers found this little eight-foot guy trying to sneak out of the pond for an after midnight shop at Walmart this morning.”
Aransas Pass Police Department Capt. Lynn Pearce said in a statement that the alligator sighted earlier this week stood out because it was larger than others the department had previously encountered. While it wasn’t specified whether the animal was a male or female, USA Today further noted that the gator was close to the average size for a female of the species, as males tend to measure a shade over 11 feet in length.
Alligators are known to prefer to swim in freshwater because their glands aren’t predisposed to tolerate salt water for extended periods of time. As such, that might have been the reason why the gator in question wandered off to the Walmart parking lot, as most of Aransas Pass is located on the Aransas Bay, a “slightly salty” body water, per USA Today’s report. The publication added that the Walmart where the alligator was spotted was located approximately there miles from shore.
The alligator sighting at the Aransas Pass Walmart marked the second time in less than 10 days that a gator was found in a place where few people would expect them to be seen. On June 18, Time Dolphin and Shelling Cruises Inc. owner Jessica DeGraw saw a smaller alligator measuring about four to five feet in length swimming in the beach near Lovers Key State Park in Florida. She told the Naples Daily News that this marked the first time in five years running her business that she had seen an alligator during one of her tours.