We’ve gawped at the gator-munching giant alligator from Texas, we’ve marveled at the 317-kilogram (700-pound) reptilian round boy from Georgia, and we’ve delightedly watched Chubbs the gator strutting his stuff on a golf course in Florida.
Now, meet America’s latest massive crocodilian – a 340-kilogram (750-pound) alligator recently spotted in Florida.
On March 28, the Jupiter Police Department released a statement saying that the 12-foot-long (3.6-meter) alligator had been rescued from the Jupiter Commerce Park area and carefully relocated to a safe place.
A local business owner called the police when he spotted the hefty critter mooching about the commerce park. Realizing the reptile might pose a threat to public safety, the cops called in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
“Sometimes the alligators are gone, or they’re behind or on the opposite side of the park somewhere,” Jupiter Police officer O’Neal Anderson told the Herald-Tribune. “But this one was in reach of the general public. So they contacted FWC.”
Despite being an absolute unit, the immense alligator could have been bigger. Male alligators can reach 4.6 meters (15 feet) in length and weigh a colossal 450 kilograms (1,000 pounds). Gators this big tend to be incredibly old.
The official state reptile of Florida, American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) can also be found in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and North and South Carolina. They thrive in freshwater habitats like wetlands, rivers, and swamps. And commerce parks, apparently.
Once threatened with extinction due to overhunting, American alligators have bounced back in recent decades after being listed as an endangered species in 1967. Now they are listed as “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Despite being crowned the USA’s most sizeable reptile, the American alligator is only the eighth biggest reptile in the world. The largest is the saltwater crocodile, which can grow to 6.1 meters (20 feet) from snout to tail and weigh as much as 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds). Affectionally known as salties, these colossal crocs are found from eastern India to northern Australia.
Despite their size, American alligators are much less likely to attack humans than their bigger crocodile cousins – both salties and Nile crocodiles are known to sometimes prey on humans. As with all wild animals, it’s best not to get too close or do anything to provoke them.
Or, if you’re an unfazed Floridian, you can just carry on with your game of golf.