As an unfortunate consequence of the floods currently affecting the Texas area, the flooding of the alligator pit of the Houston Zoo allowed the reptiles to escape through a drain pipe directly connected to the sewer system.
Located only 1000 feets from the bed of the swollen Brays bayou running through Houston, the Houston zoo’s alligator pit ended up submerged through the siphon effect (or communicating vessel principle) when the bayou level reached the critical threshold of six metres, allowing a supply pipe to deviate water from the Brays into the animal enclosure.
The latter filled extremely quickly allowing the reptiles to easily float to the level of a drain pipe which is normally inaccessible as located more than two metres above the area in which the alligators normally move about.
The eight reptiles are now roaming in the Houston sewer system which, it should be remembered, represents a total length of more than 800 miles of pipes and tunnels.
The authorities has thus made an appeal to population : “If you find a alligator in a sewer drain or in your toilet, do not touch it under any circumstances. Immediately call the Houston zoo which will dispatch a team of keepers to the site straight away”
Alligators are harmless when they are fed but after 12 hours with nothing to eat will become highly voracious and turn into particularly formidable predators capable of snapping up any pets or young children happening to pass close to sewer drains.
It only remains to hope that the reptiles are found quickly before their voracious appetite makes itself felt.