Yes, We Have Alligators!

Right Here in the Bayou City!

Watch This Short Video of the Alligator

Jan. 9, 2022

So you’re walking or skating or biking along Buffalo Bayou in the park near downtown Houston, enjoying the balmy day, watching the people. You look down at the water and what’s that?! An alligator!

An alligator swimming right in front of everyone. In fact, this one is well known. Even has a nickname: Nacho, apparently named by canoe racing friends of SBB board member and river guide, Tom Helm.

Yes, we have alligators in Buffalo Bayou. They were here before we were. Some people might think that our alligators escaped from aquariums or something. Some people even think that Buffalo Bayou is an artificial ditch.

Nope. Buffalo Bayou is a river thousands of years old. Alligators are even older.

Alligators Been Here for Millions of Years

Alligators are a keystone species, meaning they create habitat and help sustain an ecosystem upon which other creatures depend. They’ve been around for millions of years. Amazingly, the bayou is crowded with very large, prehistoric creatures, though their habitat is increasingly diminished as Harris County Flood Control and property owners bulldoze and harden the banks with concrete and steel. (See also a proposal to engineer the natural banks in Memorial Park here.)

Besides alligators, there are massive alligator snapping turtles, alligator gar, and even beavers (long ago beavers were big as bears). (See also here.)

This relatively young, five-foot alligator was maybe looking for some turtles to eat, maybe even an alligator gar. Maybe just enjoying the sun.

A friend took this short video of the ‘gator swimming near Taft Street.

See for yourself.

Young alligator swimming in Buffalo Bayou near Taft Street west of downtown Houston. Image from video shot December 2021 by J. Oti.

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