Meet the Alligator Gar: Prehistoric Monster Fish in North America


The Alligator Gar is one of the largest freshwater fish in North America, as well of one of the most legendary — with anecdotal stories circulating of monster gars measuring over 15 feet long.

Got to talking about Alligator Gar in a post earlier. Here in Southeast Texas, they are definitely one of our apex predators. from r/natureismetal

This river monster is definitely one of the most formidable fish in the world. With a long snout and two rows of prominent razor-sharp teeth, it’s easy to see where it got its name.

Alligator gar head showing the dual rows of teeth in the upper jaw. Photo By Betty Wills, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Fossil records trace this creature’s existence back to the Early Cretaceous over 100 million years ago — meaning this is truly a prehistoric beast.

One of the largest gars on record was found in Mississippi after it got caught in a fishing net. The massive fish measured in at at 8 feet, 5 and 1/8 inches long, 47 inches in girth and officially 327 pounds.

Image: FB/Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

The alligator gar is clearly a gigantic sea monster… But is it a man-eater?

Rural lore has reported horror stories of this gar attacking unsuspecting swimmers and boaters. Is it true? Or perhaps the scary appearance of this generally docile fish has given it a bad reputation.

The so-called gar attacks have actually been attacks from alligators.

Alligator gars rival alligators — in appetite. As sluggish ambush predators, they prefer to hang out just beneath the water’s surface, where they attack fish, waterfowl, and small mammals.

Alligator gar are rather unique among fish. Like other bony fish, they have gills and a swim bladder; however, their swim bladder also allows them to breathe air in bodies of water that would suffocate other fish.

Watch the video below to see a giant alligator gar measuring over 7.5 feet and weighing 230 lbs: