So, what do you think? Could an adult alligator eat a full-grown adult deer without tearing it into pieces?
Like, yeah. One bite, One gulp. The biggest big gulp you can think of.
A deer, let’s say an adult doe of about 3 years old, is probably 110-125 pounds or so on average in most Southeast states. Give or take a few pounds. With the abundance of available food, the deer aren’t hollerin’ for Jenny Craig or knocking the lids off feeders.
An adult alligator — let’s say a 15-FOOTER THAT WEIGHS 1,1085 POUNDS! — meets said doe at the lake. They’re not there to have Chardonnay and look at the stars. Gator wants food, doe is there for the taking.
Apparently, somehow, maybe, a scenario like that played out with the pending world record alligator killed recently in Alabama. You may have heard of it. Mandy Stokes, her husband John, and brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins with his children, 16-year-old Savannah and 14-year-old Parker, finally subdued the beast after a 5-hour nighttime battle on the Alabama River during Alabama’s recent gator season.
Ken Owens of Autaugaville, a taxidermist a couple of hours north of where the big gator was killed, handled the skinning and cleaning. It took him a few hours to get the job done on the big lizard. During the process, he cut open the gator’s stomach at the request of biologists to see what was inside.
An adult deer, with the hair and much of the hide already gone, but not enough digestion had taken place to obscure the identity. Owens aged the jawbone of the deer at about 3 years old. He also found squirrels, rocks, vegetation, other bones and what’s believed to be molars from a cow or other large livestock animal in the alligator’s stomach.
Dr. Kent Vliet is a renowned reptilian biologist and coordinator of laboratories at the University of Florida. He spoke about the gator for this report and said he believes a deer that large could provide energy for that gator for two years.
Wow. That’s a heck of a better deal than trying to snarf tiny squirrels. Vliet also said he never had seen any gators, during his research, that had consumed squirrels.
Pretty wild, eh?
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