While on a guided hunt in Outwest Farms in Okeechobee, Florida, farm owner Lee Lightsey and hunting guide Blake Godwin encountered an alligator that they’ll never forget. At 15 feet in length and 800 pounds in weight, this massive gator is one of the largest ever recorded. For reference, the largest alligator ever killed in Florida was a 17.4 foot (5.31 meter) male in Everglades National Park.
Lurking in one of their cattle ponds, the huge gator appeared to have been feasting upon the farm’s cattle whenever the cattle came down to drink. Lightsey and Godwin quickly put an end to that that when they shot and killed the gator. However, the ancient reptile was so enormous that the pair needed to use a farm tractor to pull it out of the water, as seen in the photo above.
Yet, although alligators can be quite dangerous and frightening, we must remember that they deserve just as much respect as any other animal. If we kill them just because we’re afraid of them, we’d eradicate these important keystone species. Without alligators to eat the smaller animals, many small mammals would decimate fragile wetland vegetation and habitat.