By Abby Reed
MIDLAND - It's definitely not something folks in the Permian Basin see every day: an 11 foot, 6 inch alligator, weighing in at 550 pounds.
Tuesday morning, Texas State Wildlife Officials, with the help of a famous alligator expert, wrangled the creature up and sent him to his new home in East Texas.
"Let me tell you something, this is a magnificent animal. You guys play big football out here, let me tell you - you grow big alligators, too! That's really odd!" alligator expert, Gary Saurage, said.
Saurage owns and operates a 15 acre alligator park in Beaumont. He rescues the animals and then raises them.
"And instead of harvesting the animal, we put them in a place where they can live the rest of their life out," Saurage said.
His job can be seen by thousands of viewers on his reality show "Gator 911" which airs on CMT. NewsWest 9 caught up with Saurage in Midland on Tuesday, as he was trying to load up the 550 pound alligator.
The gator, was on a ranch in Ector County, when the land owner notified Texas Parks and Wildlife on Monday.
"They had a decent sized alligator on their land that was becoming a little too acclimated to human presence, losing its fear of humans. He was afraid that it was going to be a safety issue on his ranch," Scott Davis, with Texas Parks and Wildlife, said.
The gator was living in a pond and eating ducks and wild pigs. Wildlife officials had to get creative to remove the animal from the water.
"It was kind of the old west type deal, with a lasso. We pulled it out of the pond with a truck," Davis said.
Once the animal was taken from the pond, it was temporarily housed overnight in a bathroom at the Horseshoe Arena in Midland. Saurage and his team picked the animal up Tuesday morning.