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Apparently, alligators like the taste of alligator meat. That, at least, is one takeaway from a recent viral video. Julie Marchillo Smith recorded her shocking encounter with a monster gator holding a smaller—limp—gator between its jaws on March 8, 2022. The incident took place at a golf course in Lakewood, Florida.

“So this happened this morning,” wrote Smith in a Facebook post. “The granddaddy [gator] is about 20 feet long. The alligator he is eating is about 6 feet.”

In the wild video, an onlooker can be heard shouting, “Oh my god, put that gator down!” Spoiler alert: the big gator does not, in fact, release its quarry as it lumbers away. See the video for yourself below.

Witnessing a gator eating another gator is a rare sight, but cannibalism is a known phenomenon among the species. “Large alligators are known to eat smaller alligators,” Coleman M. Sheehy III of the Division of Herpetology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, told Newsweek. “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. Smaller alligators generally avoid areas where large alligators live. This may be because their ecological needs are different—food and habitat—but also so they don’t get eaten by the larger gators.”

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In September, F&S reported on a giant gator that was recorded on video eating a 6-foot gator in South Carolina’s low country. Biologists say that alligators are “opportunistic feeders,” which means that they’ll typically chomp on whatever kinds of food they come across. A 2011 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) study showed that in some ecosystems up to 15 percent of young gators may be cannibalized by older gators. Researchers even found through stomach analysis that one hunter-killed gator had fed on 14 young gators. It’s a gator-eat-gator world.

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