An image of a giant alligator in Georgia has been getting a lot of attention on social media. The 13-foot gator is not a fake.
The alligator was picked up by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources on Monday on the west side of Lake Blackshear in Sumter County but was later euthanized due to injuries.
Brent Howze, a wildlife biologist for Georgia DNR says, “You’re perfectly safe. These animals exist. They’ve been here for centuries. They’ve been existing with people for centuries and they’re gonna continue to.”
The gator was picked up by about three people and a farmer called the DNR after finding it in an irrigation ditch.
Howze says, “He was 13-feet, 4-inches long and 57 inches in circumference to the chest and we estimate his weight between 700 and 750 pounds.”
DNR believes the gator may have been 50 years old but researches are working to find the exact age. He’d been in the ditch for about a week. It’s not common for gators to stay in a spot that long. He was found in poor condition and was believed to be dying, so he had to be euthanized.
“Once we got him on the bank and could assess him, we noticed he had several injuries including previous gunshot wounds.”
DNR says gators only get that big when they stay away from people.
“The majority of alligator-human interactions or alligator attacks that have happened are usually people wading in a water body that step on an alligator.”
Humans are not a source of food for the four-legged animals. And hunting is a way to naturally keep the gator population from getting too high.
“As far as alligators just attacking people, it’s extremely rare.”
Alligator hunting season in the state runs from August 17 to October 8th — and hunting requires a permit.