Cannibal gator! Massive 20ft alligator is caught on camera ‘eating’ smaller love rival on a Florida lawn
- The reptile was seen walking across a lawn in the city of Lakeland on March 8
- In its mouth it was carrying a still-moving 6ft-long alligator it was about to eat
- It is thought the prey was a ‘love rival’ which had unfortunately been caught
- Experts say the beasts often eat smaller alligators particularly in mating season
A massive 20ft alligator was seen ‘eating’ a smaller love rival in front of shocked bystanders in Florida.
The beast was spotted lifting its flailing prey into the air and walking off with it on a lawn in Lakeland, near Tampa, on March 8.
The incident, which was caught on video by Julie Smith, left her in awe as the animal effortlessly carried the 6ft-long rival in its jaws.
The footage shows the giant reptile crossing a path with its unfortunate prey still wriggling in its jaws.
An onlooking woman can be heard shouting: ‘Oh my God, put that gator down,’ but perhaps unsurprisingly the creature doesn’t to do that.
It continues to slowly walk down a grass slope towards a pool of water, sliding on its stomach for the last few seconds.
Sharing the video on her Facebook, Ms Smith said: ‘So this happened this morning. This grandpappy is about 20ft long. The alligator he is eating is about 6ft.’
In the comments underneath she said its prey did not live for long after the video ended.
She said: ‘Oh it was alive alright, but once he got over to the other body of water that was short-lived. That 6ft gator in his mouth is several years old.’
She added: ‘I have 8-10-12ft [alligators] in my lake all the time.
‘In fact there is a pair about 10ft each in my lake right now, mating, but I’ve never saw one this big until today. Huge!!! ‘
She also said: ‘Also [it’s] mating season and apparently if they feel threatened by another male while in pursuit of a female they will go after another.
The 20ft alligator was spotted walking across a lawn in Lakeland, near Tampa, in Florida on March 8
In its mouth it was carrying the still-moving body of a smaller alligator which despite being 6ft long could not escape
‘Also found out the males will kill their young too. All this knowledge I never wanted.’
Alligators are a common sight in Florida, where they are often found living in freshwater areas including golf courses, as these area provide an abundance of food.
They are opportunistic predators and can take down larger prey such as deer and bears, as well as other alligators.
One alligator expert said this type of sight was actually very common and the animals eating members of the same species was ‘totally normal behavior’.
Julie Smith, who took the video, said while the poor prey was still alive here, it was killed shortly afterwards
Coleman M. Sheehy III, who works for the Division of Herpetology at Florida Museum of Natural History, said told Newsweek it was ‘well known’ for alligators to eat each other.
‘However, the occurrence of this can vary quite a bit, partly due to what other food options are available and partly due to whether large gators have access to smaller gators,’ he said.
He said that smaller alligators tend to steer clear of areas where larger ones live due to the danger they pose.
He added: ‘Males get very territorial during mating season, and this can lead to more aggression than normal towards other male alligators.
‘This can in turn lead to cannibalism if one of them is small enough to be eaten by the larger one.’