VIDEO: 14-foot, half-ton gator missing from park after storm

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Tropical Storm Imelda hammered Southeast Texas hard, dropping nearly four feet of rain into homes and businesses.

One of those was “Gator Country,” an outdoor park and sanctuary housing featured on “Gator 911,” housing over 450 alligators, crocodiles and other reptiles.

But when surging floods sent water over the tops of the park’s enclosures, many of the gators were able to escape their pools, some of which may have swam over the inundated fences to escape.

With the waters beginning to recede, park staff are now searching to see which gators are still hiding somewhere in the park, and which have escaped.

Among the park gators unaccounted for is “Big Tex.”

He shouldn’t be hard to miss. He’s nearly 14 feet long and weighs a half-ton, making him the biggest nuisance gator captured in the United States.

“If he is not there in a few days, we will send out a team to find him,” Gator Country owner Gary Saurage tells The Beaumont Enterprise, “And we will find him. You can’t miss an alligator that big.”

If he’s still in the park, he’ll probably pop up when staff start ringing the dinner bell.

If he escaped, he may never be seen again. While park staff and probably a few hunters will be looking for him, that part of Texas is hundreds of square miles of swamps, canals and bayous, home to thousands of gators. With all that deep, dark water and thick brush, even a gator the size of a truck can hide.

On the other hand, he’s now accustomed to people and being hand-fed, so he may turn up on someone’s lawn looking for lunch.