A giant gator was clipped by a semi outside Whataburger. A Texas man wrangled it

Authorities in Cleveland, Texas, wrangle George the giant alligator Monday morning with the help of local cowboy Chance Ward.
Authorities in Cleveland, Texas, wrangle George the giant alligator Monday morning with the help of local cowboy Chance Ward. Facebook screenshot

Sometimes even giant alligators need rescuing.

And when they do, there are few folks more equipped for the job than Tarkington, Texas, cowboy Chance Ward.

A Facebook video of him and his 17-year old son rescuing horses from Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters got more than 12 million views in August 2017.

But early Monday morning, Ward made a more dangerous and exotic friend when an alligator just short of 12 feet long tried to cross U.S. 59 in Cleveland, Texas, near a Whataburger restaurant. The giant gator was clipped by an 18-wheeler trying to cross the highway's southbound lanes just after midnight, according to the Houston Chronicle.

"Only in Texas will you get a gator and Whataburger in the same picture," Ward wrote in a Facebook post Monday after helping the local authorities strap the beast into his flatbed pickup and taking him for a ride to a new home. "If you get a chance, thank our local law enforcement and firemen as they not only pull the criminals off the streets, they help keep the wildlife and livestock safe."

I have been fortunate to catch many animals alive in my life. Sergeant Edwards called and woke me out of bed. Said...

Posted by Chance Ward on Monday, April 30, 2018

A friend of his in the Cleveland (Texas) Police Department called him out to help get the gator Ward would later name George out of harm's way. He roped the gator's tail and snout, while a local deputy taped George's mouth shut so they could get him aboard the flatbed.

But George didn't go without a fight.

"The gator had pretty much set his way — he was not gonna move," Ward told KHOU.

Just after noon Monday, Ward was filming George again, this time as he opened the stock trailer and released the gator into a pond in Liberty County, under the guidance of the local game warden.

Here is the final release of Ole George. He has a nice new lake to claim as home. The closest major highway is over 20 miles away. Let's hope he finds him a pretty lady and stays.

Posted by Chance Ward on Monday, April 30, 2018

It took about 20 minutes to get the gator to calm down, tie him on both sides and load him onto the truck Monday morning, but the pond was apparently a welcome sight. George slid out relatively willingly and immediately went for a dip in his new home.

"This is not something we see every day in Cleveland," said Cleveland Police Chief Darrel Brousard. "I think with the recent floods and Harvey, some of these animals are on the move. I encourage anyone who has water around their place, whether it's a creek, river or stream, to be vigilant. Watch your step, especially at dark."

All animals were saved

Posted by Chance Ward on Monday, August 28, 2017

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