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Skinny and injured, gator rescued from beach

Professionals at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas tend to a rescued alligator found on the beach near Cedar Bayou. Photo courtesy of UTMSI

Animal rehabilitators recently rescued a juvenile American alligator from the beach near Cedar Bayou. The rescuers are from the Amos Rehabilitation Keep at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas.

During a biweekly beach survey for nesting sea turtles, they first noticed the gator. A few days later, they saw it in the same location and made a plan to take it to the institute for triage.

The 4-foot-long, emaciated freshwater alligator had a severe injury to an eye and several abrasions on its head. Once it has recovered, ARK will release it according to federal and state guidelines.

“Depending on his progress and how he fares with the antibiotics, we hope to return him soon,” said Sally Palmer, communications coordinator for the Marine Science Institute.

American alligators usually only tolerate saltwater for short periods because they have no means of exuding the salt when they aren’t near a freshwater source.

The marsh systems next to the bay, where the alligators live and breed, can be flooded with rainfall or groundwater.

“They can go into the saltwater but need fresh water to live,” Palmer said.

“They are pretty commonly seen in the Bay Area,” she continued. “This one could have been washed out after a rain event or just got lost.”

To report a stranded alligator or other wildlife, contact the institute at 361-749-6793 or a Nueces County wildlife rehabilitator via the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at

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