A, massive, absolutely gargantuan gator tried to cross a Florida highway earlier this month but met a tragic end – it was struck by a semi-truck and had to be put down.
Tallahassee alligator trapper Broderick Vaughan said he received a call about a stunned alligator walking in circles on the highway near the state’s capital.
He’s caught the creatures for over a decade, so he expected a standard removal job.
The 12-foot, 463-pound goliath he found was one of the largest he’d ever encountered, he told CNN. And it was badly injured. The alligator had collided with a semi-truck, which injured its snout and crushed its head on one side.
Vaughan caught his snare pole around the animal’s neck, taped its mouth shut and wrestled it into the back of his truck and home to his facility.
It was clear the gator was seriously injured, so he euthanized it the same day.
“There was no reason to keep him alive and let him suffer,” he said.
Florida Highway Patrol said the alligator crept onto the road around midnight June 3. The exit was closed for hours until the gator was safely removed.
Under Florida wildlife regulation, any gator over four feet in length is considered a nuisance and potential threat to people and property, so it can’t be relocated.
If they aren’t able to find new homes in exhibits or farms, they must be euthanized and sent to processing facilities so their meat can be sold to restaurants or tanned and used for leather products.
The state’s alligator population is healthy at about 1.3 million, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.