Unwelcome visitor

Keith Gross found this 2-foot-long alligator on South Shore Boulevard in League City with its mouth taped shut.

COURTESY PHOTO/Kellie Gross

LEAGUE CITY — No one will ever confuse him with Crocodile Dundee or the late wildlife expert Steve Irwin. Still, Keith Gross’ brush with wild animals last week might have come out of an “Animal Planet” show.

On June 28, Gross was driving along South Shore Boulevard when he yielded for a pedestrian. It was no ordinary person crossing the road — it was an alligator.

“I stopped, thinking it was a big turtle,” Gross said. “I noticed it was too big. Then I noticed its mouth was taped shut. I ran after it, (and) caught it with my bare hands.”

Gross had no idea why the 2-foot-long gator had its mouth taped or where it had come from. He took it home and kept it in his garage as he called League City police and animal control to find out what to do next.

The officers called Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for guidance.

Gross’s wife, Kellie, documented the wildlife adventure on her Facebook page.

She wrote: “There’s an alligator in my garage. Really. Right now. It would have died if Keith didn’t stop.”

The officers that stopped by said the best thing was to release the gator back into the wild.

So Gross drove out to the Fay and Ned Dudney Nature Center off Egret Bay Boulevard and, after taking the tape off the gator’s mouth, released it.

But his brush with wildlife was not yet over.

When Gross walked back to his car, he saw a coral snake slithering across a walking path.

“I caught it, too, with bare hands,” Gross said. “I figured it was a coral snake but wanted to be sure.”

He put it into the bin he used to carry the gator and headed home. But not before he saw another snake that he gave brief thought to capturing.

“But that snake, while smaller, appeared to have a diamond-shaped head and I didn’t want to push it,” Gross said. “I had already lucked out grabbing the coral snake. Getting another snake ... I would have for sure been bitten.

“I would have been too embarrassed to go to the emergency room and say I caught two snakes with my bare hands and got bit.”

Gross took the snake home, which didn’t please his wife.

“We did some research and found there really isn’t any antivenin around,” Gross said. “And (our daughter) couldn’t have any friends over with that thing in the backyard.”

 So he took it to his law office.

He called the Houston Zoo to see if the keepers wanted it. They declined.

He reached out to Moody Gardens. No dice.

So he released the snake in a wooded area near his office.

Why didn’t he just kill the snake or let the alligator be?

“I don’t believe in killing anything,” Gross said.

He was the second League City resident this past week to have a run in with a coral snake.

On Wednesday, David Greif found a coral snake as it tried to get into his house. He used a child’s play bench and some barbecue tongs to grab the snake, he told KTRK-TV.

Greif also released the snake in a nature area. When the TV report aired, Kellie Gross “freaked out,” her husband said.

“She figured the snake I let free found its way to the other house,” Gross said.

Not likely. Photos of the two snakes show that Gross’ snake was smaller — and Gross was on the opposite side of town when he let his snake go free.

 

Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or tjaulds@galvnews.com.

(4) comments

Richard Worth

Well done, sir.

Dwight Strain

Had to help to gator but the snake thing makes him pretty dumb. Snake was right where he shOuld be, leave him alone. .."Im gonna grab this snake living in a nature center because I want to take it home and make sure it's not dangerous" ... I think you're just playing croc hunter now, buddy. Go home, leave the snake alone

Carlos Ponce

My sister who lived in Sugarland caught a coral snake and sold it to pet shop. They had a buyer in mind looking for precisely that type of snake. The gator looked too small to make boots. Ever tasted gator nuggets? Here's a recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/fried-alligator-nuggets-recipe.html

JBG JBG

Uhhhh huh! I got something for that snake! Yes sir! I knew another snake lover years ago! He loved snakes so much he had 2-3 full grown pythons in his apartment with him and a roommate. The guy was an engineer! One day his homie was gone and one of those python did what came natural to him, and attacked the guy! The python intended to do him in, and he told this to me himself.
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His "homie" just happed to come back for something, walked in with him screaming like a girl! They both wrestled the python back into control and I'm thinking he told me they carried him to a shower, and turned on the water, ( hot or cold )....I forget which,....and the snake let go! I would have paid to see that, because if a man is going to keep 2-3 pythons in his apartment, what can you expect?
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Yes I would have paid 2-3 ducats to see that.[smile]

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