Florida Coast Guard Captain Battles and Catches 920-Pound Gator, Nearly Breaking State Record
Florida is well-known for its alligators—they’re found in swamps, fields, and backyards, and they even can be seen crossing state roads on a regular basis.
But while alligators are certainly common, giant, 13-foot gators that weigh nearly 1,000 pounds are not. And that’s exactly what the US Coast Guard found last month, the second-largest alligator Florida has ever seen.
Attempting to Catch the Behemoth Gator
Last month, US Coast Guard Licensed Captain Kaevin Brotz and his friends took on the brave and terrifying job of catching and killing a huge alligator that was spotted in a lake outside Orlando.
The fight against the reptile was long and intense. But while most alligators attempt to swim away when approached, this gator wasn’t scared—it stood its ground.
The Catch of a Lifetime
Captain Brontz explained to the press what it was like to go up against such an immense and strong creature, saying, “It was a battle, you know, I’ve been in fights that were kind of wilder. This one was kind of just a four-and-a-half-hour fight, and it started off very slow.”
He also explained why the gator didn’t swim away as most do. “You know he’s probably 60 to 90 years old and he’s used to eating whatever messes with him. So he had no reason to run,” said Brontz.
The Second Biggest Alligator Ever Found in Florida
Brontz and his friends finally finished the job and finished off the gator after the long and backbreaking battle, realizing just how big it really was.
The dinosaur-like creature weighed in at 920 pounds and 13 feet long, making it the second largest alligator ever found in Florida. And as a state famous for huge gators, that’s really saying something!
Weighing In at a Whopping 1,043 Pounds
In fact, the largest alligator ever found in Florida was only slightly bigger at 1,043 pounds and reportedly an incredible 17 feet and five inches long.
While Florida has some of the biggest alligators on the planets, its neighboring states are home to some enormous creatures as well. In fact, the largest alligator ever reported was from Louisiana, and stretched an unbelievable 19 feet, three inches.
Giant Alligator Caught in Mississippi the Same Day as Florida Capture
Finding and catching such a ginormous gator is certainly a once in a lifetime event for almost anyone. But surprisingly, that event happened twice on the very same day.
On August 26, 2023, while Brontz and his crew were wrestling with the 920-pound Florida gator, another team was doing the same in the Yazoo River in Mississippi, with a 14-foot alligator that weighed 802.5 pounds. This size made it the biggest alligator ever caught in the state of Mississippi.
Gator Hunting Considered an Important Public Service in Southern States
It’s important to understand that in southern states where alligators roam freely in the wild, keeping their population under control is an important job.
That’s why several states, such as Florida and Mississippi, issue and sell alligator hunting licenses to those who want to take on the job of culling gators. Reports indicate that these licenses have been a huge help.
Hunting Licenses Proving to Keep Alligator Population in Check
Vice chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Crocodile Specialist Group Christy Plott told the press that, “These wild culls are amazing. Honestly, it’s incredible population control for the species.”
About 1-2% of wild alligators are culled annually, so it’s not a big number, and the goal is to take out some of the larger animals that are not productive for breeding and keep other alligators from breeding—which is obviously bad for the population as a whole,” she explained.
Hunting Gators Actually Benefits the Population
What many people don’t realize is that by removing the larger gators which no longer reproduce, it actually improves the population of young, healthy, and generally safe alligators in their natural habitat.
In 1967, alligators were listed as endangered, but since installing the hunting program, their numbers have steadily increased and are no longer considered endangered. Plott said that the American Alligator program was “the single greatest conservation success story in the history of the world.”
Giant Alligators Are Exceptionally Dangerous
Although all adult gators can pose a bit of a threat, it’s actually only the extremely large alligators that are considered extremely dangerous.
Plott explained to the media that essentially, Alligators continue to grow over their lifetime, and the older and bigger they get, the more territorial they become. So they not only have the physical strength, but also the will and determination to attack any person, livestock, or pet that gets in their way.
What Becomes of the Dead Gators?
For those who wonder just what’s done with the alligators that are culled in order to protect people, animals, and their own population, you’ll be interested to know that the alligator body is actually used in many cases.
Alligator has long been considered a popular southern dish, so the meat of the deceased gators is often donated to soup kitchens, and the hides are sent to be processed into leather. Although most animal-rights activists still wouldn’t be pleased, many argue that making use of hunted gators is certainly a plus side to the situation.
Why Are Alligators Getting So Big?
Realistically, it’s pure coincidence that two absolutely colossal alligators were found on the same day. However, you may be wondering, “Why are alligators getting so big?”
Biologically, alligators keep growing throughout their lifespan. So while Florida residents with alligator hunting licenses are actively looking for large gators to cull, if a few slip by and keep growing, once the hunters do find them, they’ll have a big job on their hands.