A gator eats a gator, and the cannibalism was captured on video this week. The photographer who filmed a huge alligator eating a smaller alligator for breakfast says that while filming the incredible event, his heart was pounding. The video of the unusual breakfast scene has gone viral on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and across numerous media outlets. On YouTube, the video has been viewed nearly 2 million times.
National Geographic assumes in its April 15 report that the smaller gator was already dead by the time the huge alligator devoured it. However, watching the above video of the cannibalism seems to indicate that the small alligator was still alive as the bigger alligator tosses it around in the water.
Alligators have extremely strong jaws that can even break the shell of a turtle. During hunting, the alligator uses its crushing jaw power to get a grip of its prey and bite it. While smaller prey like fish, birds, turtles, snakes, mammals, and amphibians can be tossed up into the air and swallowed whole, larger prey like other alligators is often dragged into the water and tossed around to drown it.
Alex Figueroa, who posted the YouTube video of the two alligators, says that on April 13 he was taking a morning walk before driving to work at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Florida, when he happened to witness the amazing scene. Figueroa believes that the larger alligator was 11 to 12 feet long.
Andrew Lilyquist, who captured the same scene between the two alligators, took numerous pictures of the encounter with his camera and recorded the incident with his phone:
“It was amazing. And my heart started beating,” said Lilyquist. “He was huge. When he crossed the trail, there was some of him left on both sides.” Lilyquist says that while taking the pictures and the video, “I tried to stay at a respectful distance away from him – just in case.”
Some Twitter users responded to the danger of being so close to an alligator:
Gigi @green_i_girl Apr 15 — Why are these people just walking up to it? Run…run like the wind! Gator eats another gator in Lakeland
Cannibalism between two alligators is not as uncommon as one might think. “Gators are very opportunistic and will eat whatever they can find; anything that can fit down their throat is food,” says Christopher Brochu, professor at the University of Iowa.
In regard to one alligator eating another gator, Florida Fish and Wildlife says, “It’s typical alligator behavior — especially among males during mating season.”