Alligators are scary enough to people and animals, but apparently, gators of a certain size should also be wary of being lunch for larger reptiles of the same species. The idea of a “gator eats gator” scenario may sound bizarre, but a photographer named Alex Figueroa was lucky enough to capture it on camera.
Alex shared on YouTube that he was “taking a morning walk” on April 13 when he happened across an “11 to 12-foot alligator eating a smaller gator he or she had killed.”
Without hesitating, Figueroa immediately began to document the alligator as it chomped away on the smaller gator. You can see it in the video below. Be warned, though: it is somewhat graphic.
In the video, you can hear the stunned photographer comment “Wow,” to an off-camera observer, who referred to the sight as “pretty wicked.” You can also see other people standing around to watch the alligator as he (or she) enjoys a cannibalistic feast.
The gawking humans seem to bother the shy gator, who goes from attempting to swallow the smaller reptile in the water to chomping away on land. The gator slowly makes his way away from the watchful eyes of the public, as if to say, “Can I please eat in peace?”
The New York Daily News instead suggests that the bigger gator, which periodically tossed its prey from side to side within its formidable jaws, was actually proudly showing the deceased victim off.
Photographer Andrew Lilyquist, who works for CNN affiliate WFTS, was also able to capture rare images of the scene for himself. The incident reportedly went down in Lakeland, Florida, near the Circle B Bar Nature Reserve.
Lilyquist said, “It was amazing. My heart started beating [really fast].” Andrew admitted that he tried to keep a “respectful distance” from the munching gator “just in case” the animal decided it wanted to add people to its morning menu.
In fact, Andrew went out to the Circle B Bar with the hopes of getting the incident on film for himself; a similar “gator eats gator” video went viral a day earlier.
There are a couple of different videos that have been captured during the past week, and there’s no indication as to whether the viral “gator eats gator” stories involves one cannibalistic alligators or two. It’s also unclear if the gator actively hunted and killed the other animal, or if his deceased “friend” was already dead before being eaten.
What is known is that despite these gator shenanigans, it’s still a relatively uncommon sight and something rarely captured on video.
Although the idea of eating someone else as part of a twisted version of population control sounds disturbing to us humans, i09 said it makes perfect sense to alligators.
“If you’re a baby alligator, there’s about a 1 in 16 chance that your elders will eat you. It’s nothing personal…it’s just the simplest way for these gators to deal with a temporary food shortage and keep their population stable.”
Christopher Brochu, a professor at the University of Iowa who studies crocodilians, told National Geographic that although he’s never seen this strange scenario play out in person, gators eating other gators isn’t shocking because these are “very opportunistic” predators. To put it bluntly, “Anything that can fit down [an alligator’s] throat is food.” Even if that’s other gators.
Well, they say that all is fair in love and war — and if you’re a tiny Florida gator, that saying holds a particularly dark double meaning.
[Image via Alex Figueroa/YouTube screen grab]