HUMBLE, Tex. – A woman came home Monday after running errands, but an 8-foot alligator separated her from the door.
"And all I seen was the mouth wide open and hissing," said Tammy Tanner after finding the gator on her porch. "And he was on me, he was right there. So I tried to turn quickly to start running but his tail caught my knee and it knocked me down. And I thought, ‘well he’s going to be on me now.’"
Thankfully her boyfriend saw her fall back and came running.
"When she got knocked down I couldn’t see what happened. I just know she come flying back out," said boyfriend, Jody White, initially thinking a burglar pushed her. "So I come running up here seen that [gator] and I had to drag her back out away from the doorway here, so it was out of the way. Then we just got back in the truck and waited."
They called the Harris County Constable Office which showed up with trapper Tim Deramus of Bayou City Gator Savers.
Deramus got five calls for gator removal on Monday and caught two. Watch the video of Deramus struggling with the 8-footer in the Humble front yard above. FOX 26 Houston caught up with him and caught his second gator of the day.
Gator mating season
"It's the beginning of the mating season. So the more the males are just running crazy looking for females," said Deramus who has been getting calls daily this spring. "And all the baby ones are scattering out of the water because the big alligators eat the smaller alligators, they are cannibalistic. And so the little alligators are… popping up on people's lawns."
Come summer, once mating season is over, he usually gets 5 calls a week not a day.
Deramus lassoed the gator, jumped on its back, taped its jaws closed and ‘hog-tied’ the reptile. Texas Parks and Wildlife officials then relocated the creature to a natural habitat.
"I can imagine tomorrow I’m going to be so sore I can’t walk because I hit the cement hard trying to run and get away," Tanner said after returning from the hospital with minor injuries. "But I’m still here."
How likely are gator attacks?
"There's only been one reported attack in the state of Texas," said Deramus saying that violent alligator attacks versus people are rare. "It was around September 15th when the babies are hatching out of their nest and the kayaker ended up jumping out into the water. But he didn't know the nest was on the bank where he jumped out to swim. So the mother, female alligator grabbed him."
Game wardens hired Deramus to remove the large alligators in the area. He caught four 11-footers, six 9-10-footers and finally the mama protecting her 23 babies.
"The alligator, bit his hand and arm and pulled him underwater," recalled Deramus of the 2020 incident. "He got away and he went swimming to the bank. And then the alligator actually grabbed him again on the shoulder and he was able to get away again. They ended up calling a LifeFlight to get the guy. I believe he's okay."
Bayou City Gator Savers also traps nuisance coyotes, possums, snakes and wild hogs. He only kills the unprotected hogs which he harvests like his mother, grandfather and great-grandfather taught him. He uses or gives away the meat in the winter then in the summer takes the pork to feed some of his rescues at the Gator Rescue Park.
Gator wrangling training
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department taught Deramus to catch gators in a one-day seminar about eight years ago.
"The first call I got was an eight-foot alligator and not the one or two-footer they trained me with, and I did it the way they trained to do it. They had us do it with a little catchpole and hold their head down," said Deramus. "And on the eight-foot, I put the loop of the catchpole on his head and he yanked it out of my hand and commenced to beat me up with my own stick."
Tanner and Deramus both recommend calling officials and professionals to remove a nuisance gator instead of an amateur trying it themselves.