The American Alligator

Fort Bend MUD 118 has recently received reports of the presence of an alligator in Figure Four Lake. Fort Bend MUD 118 is monitoring the situation and following the guidance and regulations set by the Texas Parks Wildlife Department. We ask residents to adhere to Fort Bend MUD 118 park rules, State and local regulations and the guidance outlined below while visiting District Parks.

The American Alligator

The American alligator is a semi-aquatic, armored reptile that is almost black in color.  Adult alligators will range from 6 – 14 ft. in body length.  They have prominent eyes and nostrils with coarse scales over their entire body.  The alligator has a large, long head and often floats or swims with only its eyes and nostrils exposed.  Alligators are carnivorous and feed on fish, turtles, snakes, small mammals, waterfowl, and other alligators.  Alligators are surprisingly quick on land and can run up to 35 miles per hours for short distances.  Alligators in Texas are mostly inactive from mid-October until early March when they brumate.  Springtime is when alligators are most active, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  Courtship and mating begin in late spring and continues through early summer. April through July are peak months for nuisance gator calls.

If You See An Alligator

Many Texans will live in close proximity to these native reptiles with no confrontations, however, there are occasions when certain alligators become a “nuisance” and must be handled by the proper authorities. The current legal definition of a nuisance alligator is “an alligator that is depredating (killing livestock or pets) or a threat to human health and safety.”   Texas Parks and Wildlife is the only authority that can deem an alligator a nuisance because of their protected status.

The following are instances in which local authorities should be notified: If you see an alligator in the roadway; if an alligator is repeatedly following boats, canoes or other watercrafts, and/or maintains a close distance without submersing; or if you walk near the water and an alligator comes straight toward you, especially if it comes out of the water.

Residents should be watchful of alligators, snakes, and other wildlife along waterways, follow posted signage and share these alligator tips:

  • Leave alligators alone. State law prohibits killing, harassing, or possessing alligators.
  • Never feed or entice alligators, it is dangerous and illegal.
  • Never allow small children to play unsupervised near water.
  • Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn when they are feeding.
  • Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators. Keep your pet on a leash and in control when walking around the water.
  • Don’t swim in areas not designated for swimming.
  • Do enjoy viewing and photographing alligators from a safe distance of at least 30 ft. or more.
  • If you hear an alligator hiss, it is a warning that you are too close.

Remember that alligators are an important part of Texas’s natural history, as well as an integral component of our wetland’s ecosystems. For more information about alligators, including safety tips for living near alligators, research reports and basic natural history, Follow the link below to TPWD Web site:

https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/species/alligator/safety/index.phtml

For questions specific to Fort Bend MUD 118, follow the link below or contact by phone: (832) 956-0868

http://www.fbmud118.com/contact/

Poison Ivy

One of Texas’ most troublesome plants is poison ivy. Although most Texans are familiar with this common plant, countless people experience an uncomfortable introduction to it every year. Unfortunately, the natural landscape along the trail and around Figure Four Lake in Fort Bend MUD No. 118 provides the perfect habitat for this noxious species to thrive. While the District, in cooperation with landscape professionals is working to remove this unpleasant vegetation, residents should exercise caution when venturing into District common areas. All parts of the plant are toxic and capable of causing skin irritation. For sensitive individuals encounters such as running over leaves with the lawnmower or being touched by pets who may have run through the plants, are enough to cause a reaction.

Poison ivy can be found as a low-growing shrub, can grow as a trailing vine along the ground, or can occur as a vine that climbs the trunks of trees. According to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension service, poison ivy may differ in appearance according to geographical region. Along lake and riverbanks in Central and East Texas the plant may grow to become a large-trunked vine capable of climbing to the top of the average tree. The leaves are compound, with three leaflets that occur alternately along the stem. The leaflets may be smooth or slightly hairy, with edges being lobed, toothed, or smooth. Leaves can occur in a variety of colors on the same plant, but leaflets typically have a greenish-red cast when they first emerge in the spring, then turn dark green throughout the summer, and eventually turn red, orange, or yellow in the fall.

If you think you have had an encounter with poison ivy, wash your skin with soap and cool water as soon as possible after contact. Alcohol can also be used to remove the irritating plant oils. The sooner you cleanse the skin, the greater the chance that you can remove the plant oil or help prevent further spread.

For questions or concerns about the presence and control of poison ivy in District common areas, please contact the District’s Parks Manager through the Fort Bend MUD No. 118 website contact page https://www.fbmud118.com/contact/ or by phone at 832-956-0868.