Alligator Causes Texas Traffic Jam During Storm Nicholas, Smashes Door at Rescue Centre

A Texas alligator capture crew rescued a 10-foot alligator who was blocking interstate traffic on Tuesday. The reptile wasn't done creating carnage, however, and tore down a door at the rescue center after it was recovered.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office called Gator Country Adventure Park animal rescuers at 4 a.m. CDT on Tuesday, the team said in a Facebook post, after the alligator caused traffic to back up on Interstate 10 from Major Drive to College Street in Beaumont, 85 miles east of Houston.

The team, including owner-operators Gary Saurage and Shannon Saurage, said in the post "4am wake-up call from Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. 'Gary there's a 10ft. Alligator on I-10 near major dr. It's got traffic stopped all the way to college at [sic].'"

The incident took place as Tropical Storm Nicholas brought heavy rains and flooding risks to the state on Tuesday. The rescued alligator has been named "Major Nicholas" by the team in honor of the storm it found itself in the middle of, they revealed in a Facebook update.

The alligator was rescued and relocated to Gator Country, KHOU reported. Gator Country's website says the park is currently home to 450 alligators, crocodiles, and other reptiles, most of which came to the park as a result of rescues, donations, or abandonment. It states that Gator Country is currently the only center for nuisance alligators in Texas.

A Facebook update from the team at around 9 a.m. CDT on Tuesday, five hours after the rescue had taken place, revealed that Major Nicholas had torn down a door at the center.

The alligator's namesake made landfall northeast of Matagorda Bay, Texas, around 12:30 am CDT on Tuesday as a Category 1 hurricane, Weather.com reported. Around three hours later it was downgraded to a tropical storm. The storm has caused heavy rainfall and flooding in many states including Louisiana and Texas.

Gator Country Adventure Park itself was subject to intense flooding and was taking extra precautions according to a report from 12 News Now. A video report showed severe flooding at the facility in 2019, which caused the alligators to be pushed out of their enclosures by rainwater. The outlet reported a new fence had since been erected to prevent any escapes.

Speculating on how the alligator found itself on Interstate 10 in the middle of a tropical storm, the Gator Country team said in their Facebook post: "I guess the alligator was trying to evacuate. We did get it."

An Alligator in its natural habitat
A stock image of an alligator. A 10 ft alligator held up traffic on Tuesday in Texas. joe32780/Getty