13 ft. Alligator has deer for lunch in South Georgia

The sight of a 12 to 14 foot-long alligator is something south Georgia folks see occasionally, but few have seen one take an adult deer out to lunch. Actually — for lunch. KEYWORDS: alligator sighting gator deer what do alligators eat Georgia

The sight of a 12 to 14 foot-long alligator is something south Georgia folks see occasionally, but few have seen one take an adult deer out to lunch. Actually — for lunch.

These photographs of this deer-eating alligator were taken from the air by Terry Jenkins, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service District Fire Management Officer. She was preparing to ignite a prescribed fire at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, about 40 miles south of Savannah, Georgia, on March 4, 2004.

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“One advantage of fire work is you get to see that 12-14 footers are common from Santee National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina to Coastal South Carolina to Georgia’s coast,” said Jenkins. “It looks like the alligator population is doing extremely well.”

This one was at least 12-13 feet long. Jenkins said that some bull alligators have a 35-inch girth.

The Service uses a helicopter capable of igniting controlled burns by dropping flaming fuel-filled ping pong balls on preselected areas. She works throughout parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Coastal Georgia refuges and fish hatcheries. The Service uses prescribed fire to improve habitat and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.

If you’re a deer hunter, the refuge hosts an archery hunt on September 15-17, 2004 and a gun hunt November 19, 2004 (only 150 permits will be issued). For more information, and to obtain an application, visit: http://harrisneck.fws.gov/. Applications must be received by August 31, 2004 at Savannah Coastal Refuges, 1000 Business Center Drive, Parkway Business Center, Suite 10, Savannah, Georgia, 31405.

The alligator will not be charged with hunting deer out of season, animal cruelty, or any one of several possible water quality violations. He may, however, be charged with being one mean gator.

If we could catch him… Or wanted to…

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Photos are free, public domain and available to the public here. Credit photos to Terri Jenkins, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

SOURCE:
US Fish and Wildlife Press Release
For further information, contact Tom R. MacKenzie – Chief, Media Relations
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Southeast Region
Phone: 404-679-7291
Fax:404-679-7286
Mobile: 678-296-6400

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