An alligator the size of a small car was spotted strolling through one of Polk County Discovery Center’s reserves in Florida and some brave photographers caught it on tape. As expected, many were skeptical regarding the authenticity of the video. However, the experts confirmed that it was the real deal.
They confirmed that American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) can get that big. The presence of this impressive specimen may actually serve as a record breaker. Locals already nicknamed the alligator “Mr. Humpback”.
David A. Steen, wildlife ecologist and conservation biologist, stated that the biggest America alligator recorded so far was a 14 ft. 9.25 in. specimen killed in Alabama in 2014. He does not find the alligator in the video as big as the previous record holder, but he could still count as Florida’s biggest. Moreover, Steen stated he had no reason to suspect the alligator as a fake.
The reptile curator at the Los Angeles Zoo, Ian Recchio, agrees to this statement. He confirmed that the reptile in the video is an American alligator and, judging from the dimensions, he must be a male. He could not tell for sure that the picture was authentic, but it appeared so.
The woman who filmed the alligator and then made the video public is Kim Joiner. She thought that the reptile looked around 12 feet long, but Recchio warned that whatever lay in the background might make the images in the foreground appear bigger. However, the experts must perform measures to establish the exact size of the alligator.
It is not the first time when such big alligators are spotted walking near people. Last year, a video of a large alligator in Palmetto, Florida was almost as popular. If you spot a big alligator, be sure that it is a male. Female are smaller than 10 feet. Crocodiles can grow even bigger than alligators. They can reach 20 feet. Both crocodiles and alligators keep growing their entire life, which usually lasts 70 or 80 years.
The reason why we can spot such big alligators so often is the intense conservation program that caused alligator populations to recover. Alligators were threatened with extinction and the populations were massively reduced. Now, older alligators are to be spotted again because they are no longer hunted.
Image Source: Pixabay