Alligators, it appears, enjoy the flavor of alligator meat. At the very least, that is one lesson to be learned from a recent popular video.
On March 8, 2022, Julie Marchillo Smith captured a frightening encounter with a huge gator clutching a smaller—limp—gator between its teeth. The event occurred at a Lakewood, Florida, golf course.
“So this occurred this morning,” Smith said on Facebook. “The granddaddy [gator] measures around 20 feet in length. He is almost six feet tall, as is the alligator he devours.”
A spectator can be heard yelling, “Oh my gosh, put that gator down!” in the chaotic footage. Warning: the large gator does not release its prey as it lumbers away.
While seeing a gator consume another gator is uncommon, cannibalism is a well-known occurrence within the species. “It is well documented that large alligators consume smaller alligators,” Coleman M. Sheehy III of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Herpetology told Newsweek.
“However, the frequency with which this occurs varies considerably, partially related to the availability of alternative food sources and partly due to whether giant gators have access to smaller gators.
Alligators of smaller sizes often avoid places inhabited by giant alligators. It may be because their physical requirements—food and habitat—are distinct, but it may also be to avoid being devoured by larger gators.”
F&S reported in September on a big gator being filmed consuming a 6-foot gator in South Carolina’s low region. Alligators, according to biologists, are “opportunistic eaters,” which means they would normally chew on any food they come upon.
According to a 2011 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) research, up to 15% of juvenile gators may be cannibalized by older gators in particular environments.
Researchers discovered that one hunter-killed gator had eaten on 14 juvenile gators through stomach examination. It’s a planet where gators devour gators.