People in a Central Texas town are on watch for a 7-foot long alligator in their neighborhood. They've spotted the animal going after beavers and ducks and are now concerned that pets and people could be next.
They say the unwelcome guest lives in a Del Valle community retention pond near the 13000 block of Lipton Loop,
right next to the neighborhood pool and a trail.
"The alligator has probably been here as long as I've been here, but we didn't know about it," said Pat King, who has lived in the neighborhood for a decade and is on the Homeowner's Association Board. "It's 7 feet and over 200 pounds. They say its healthy and very aggressive."
A landscaper mowing grass discovered the reptile three days ago, and word has spread quickly around the community.
King says another neighbor also spotted the alligator eating a duck from the pond, and the community has noticed all the ducks that used to live in the waters are now gone.
The Homeowners Association has hired an alligator expert to come out and set up traps around the retention pond. A biologist from the City of Austin is supposed to come assess the situation later this week.
Since the pond is owned by the City of Austin, the neighborhood says they can't put up signs without additional permission from officials.
In the meantime, they're warning neighbors to keep their children away from the area without supervision and to avoid running along the trail at night.
This isn't the first time a gator has been spotted in Central Texas.
In 2011, a 12-foot gator was found in Elgin along the Wilbarger Creek in Bastrop County.
If someone has an alligator they've found on their property, affecting livestock or posing a danger, The Texas Parks and Wildlife Division has an alligator protection program to asses whether they should be removed.