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Alligator Eats Whitetail Deer

August 23, 2004

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.

The photographs of this deer-eating alligator were taken from the air by Terri 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.

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 pre-selected 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.
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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