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Gator Done

Claim:   Photograph shows a 28-foot alligator captured in Florida.

REAL PHOTOGRAPH;
INACCURATE DESCRIPTION

Examples:

[Collected via e-mail, April 2013 ]

This alligator was found between Lakeland and Winter Haven Florida near the house of Anita and Charlie Rogers, who could hear the beast bellowing in the night. Their neighbors had been telling them that they had seen a mammoth alligator in the waterway that runs behind their house, but they dismissed the stories as exaggerations.

"I didn't believe it," Charles Rogers said, but after the alligator was killed, they realized the stories were, if anything, understated. Game wardens were forced to shoot the alligator. Joe Goff, a 6'5" tall game warden, shown below, walks past the 28-foot, 1-inch long alligator that he helped shoot and kill in the Rogers' back yard.


 

[Collected via e-mail, April 2006]

Florida grows em BIIIIIIIG

This alligator was found between Orlando and Titusville, Florida near a house. How would you like to meet this fella in the dark? Never let it be said that we don't grow them big in Florida .. Game wardens were forced to shoot the alligator- guess he wouldn't cooperate...

Anita and Charlie Rogers could hear the bellowing in the night.

Their neighbors had been telling them that they had seen a mammoth alligator in the waterway that runs behind their house, but they dismissed the stories as exaggerations. "I didn't believe it," Charles Rogers said. Friday they realized the stories were, if anything, understated. Florida Parks and Wildlife game wardens had to shoot the beast Joe Goff, 6'5" tall, a game warden with the Florida Parks and Wildlife Department, walks past a 23-foot, 1-inch alligator that he shot and killed in their back yard.
 

[Collected via e-mail, August 2005]

This is a real photo of a gator killed in Bay City, TX.

Lot of South Texas Nuc Plant folk live in this area. Look at the size of that head!

Here is another reason to stay out of the ditches and bayous.

This was found at Bar X, which is between Angleton and West Columbia, near a house. How would you like to meet this fella in the dark? Never let it be said that we don't grown them big in Texas.
 

Origins:   The photograph displayed above first hit the Internet in August 2005, described as a an alligator (of unspecified size) killed in Bay City, Texas. By April 2006 versions of this item had shifted the locale from Texas to Florida and enlarged the 13-foot gator into a 23-foot behemoth, and by April 2013 the giant gator was described as measuring a whopping 28 feet in length.

The photograph is real, and the text that originally accompanied it accurately reflected an account of an alligator killed by game wardens near West Columbia, Texas (a town whose primary claim to fame is its status as the First Capital of the fledgling Republic of Texas), in April 2005:
Game wardens forced to shoot alligator
Published April 16, 2005

WEST COLUMBIA - Anita and Charlie Rogers could hear the bellowing in the night.

Her neighbors in Bar X Ranch had been telling them they had seen a giant alligator in the bayou that runs behind their house, but they dismissed the stories as exaggerations.

"I didn't believe it," Charles Rogers said. Friday they realized the stories were, if anything, understated. Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens had to shoot the beast.

(Caption: Joe Goff, a game warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, walks past a 13-foot, 1-inch alligator that he shot and killed in the back yard of the home at the Bar X Ranch on FM 521 near West Columbia.)
The startling picture was taken by Val Horvath, a photographer then working for The Facts, a newspaper in Clute, Texas.

The American alligator is commonly found throughout the southern U.S., including the eastern third of Texas, generally in and around fresh-water sources such as swamps, rivers, bayous, and marshes. They typically range
in size from 10 to 15 feet in length, so a 13-ft. gator would certainly be a large specimen, but not an extraordinarily-sized one. (A 28-foot American alligator, however, is beyond the realm of credibility, as the largest reported example of that species was only 19.8 feet in length, and even that claim is disputed.)

This image is another example of how positioning can exaggerate the apparent size of objects in photographs. The alligator is in the foreground of the picture, with its head turned towards the camera, while a game warden strolls in the background, making the reptile (particularly its head) seem much proportionally larger than it really is.

Last updated:   26 April 2013

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Sources:

    The Facts.   "Gator Done."
    16 April 2005.