There are true monsters lurking in the swamps and waterways of the American Southeast. These massive creatures predate the dinosaurs and are every bit as ferocious and deadly as any velociraptor. We are speaking of alligators, of course.
Well, we just found an incredible story from Alabama about one of the largest alligators ever caught. You are not going to believe what the hunters discovered when they went to dress the massive beast.
Ken Owens is a successful taxidermist who thought he had seen everything over the years. That is, until one day recently when he opened up what is believed to be the largest alligator ever killed.
The massive animal was caught during Alabama’s annual statewide gator hunt. The trophy animal was presented to Owens’ Autaugaville taxidermy studio to be preserved. But when the artist cut the beast open, he could not believe his eyes.
In the alligator’s belly he found an intact adult female deer.
“I always thought that once an alligator killed something that it ate it a piece at a time,” Owens said. “I can’t imagine how it got ahold of that adult deer and ate it in one piece like that. It’s unbelievable.”
Although the deer had been partially digested, Owens was able to determine the deer’s age and size based on part of its jaw bone. He believes the deer was about three years old, and probably was average sized. In Wilcox County, where the alligator was captured, deer regularly grow to about one hundred fifteen pounds.
To think that an alligator could be so big as to bring down and swallow a der that size in one gulp is to imagine the unimaginable.
Alligators belong to the order crocodilia, which include crocodiles, alligators, and kamens. These terrifying creatures which first evolved more than 200 million years ago, before the dinosaurs walked the planet, have proven themselves to be among the most successful apex predators in history. They stopped evolving long before the dinosaurs died off, because they successfully dominated every ecosystem they inhabit.
Crocodilians are found on every continent except Antarctica. The Alligator is found in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri and even Arkansas.
It was only with the rise of man did they finally meet their match. By the early 1960’s, alligators in the United States southeast had been hunted almost to extinction. But thanks to their incredible breeding capabilities, after just two decades on the endangered species list, they had returned to full force.
A single female alligator can lay several dozen eggs each breeding cycle and, while they are extremely vulnerable to opportunistic predators like raccoons during their early development, once they reach maturity, alligators are the undisputed lords of the wetlands.
North America is also home to a subspecies of crocodile, but the two can be easily differentiated by their heads. Crocodiles have long narrowly tapering heads, while alligators have broader, rounded snouts. Both are deadly.
Because of encroachment into their habitats and their sheer numbers, it is not uncommon for alligators to regularly come into contact with humans, and they are notorious in Florida for eating family pets and raiding swimming pools.
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