“Is it real or is it photoshopped?”
That’s the question that 11Alive News in Atlanta, Georgia tried to answer when they featured an amazing photo of an alligator caught in Cordele, Georgia.
The photo shows a man kneeling next to an alligator that is at least twice as long as he is tall. Just how big was the gator?
“We contacted Melissa Cummings with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and she confirmed this is the real deal,” said the anchor. “This is not a hoax!”
The man in the photo is another Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist. The gator measured 13 feet 4 inches and was found in an irrigation ditch. Professionals removed it from near Lake Blackshear. “It seems like they’re always pulling big ol’ gators out of Blackshear,” said the news team. While seeing alligators may be common enough, the sheer size of this one is enough to make people take notice.
An Even Bigger Alligator
But, this still isn’t the biggest alligator that has been found in Georgia. The Department of Natural Resources estimated that this one weighed around 700 pounds based on its length and overall size. The longest was 14 feet, 1 inch. It was discovered in Lake Walter F. George in 2015.
Another alligator was caught in 2011. It was also 13 feet 4 inches but weighed 860 pounds!
Given the availability of water and the alligator-friendly weather, Georgia is home to many alligators. However, most do not get to be quite as big as this one. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources attributes effective alligator management programs and policies. “The only way these animals get this large is by avoiding humans,” said Cummings.
This alligator did have at least some run-ins with people. It first attracted attention because it was in the irrigation ditch in Cordele for a week. This is unusual behavior for an alligator. When biologists looked closer, they saw that it had multiple old gunshot wounds. It eventually did need to be put down because it could not be rehabilitated due to declining health.
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