12-Foot "Bull" Alligator Targeting Florida Ranch Killed by "Python Cowboy"
Mating season brings gators out.
A massive 12-foot alligator was caught and killed by Florida hunters after it was determined to be a threat to livestock, the Martin County Trapping & Wildlife Rescue said. The group announced the capture in an April 4 Facebook post, which came after the gator was seen roaming around a cattle ranch. "This giant ended up being 12'2" which is huge for a wild gator on a ranch like this, or anywhere really," the post said. Read on to find out what the man known as the "Python Cowboy" had to say about the capture, why gator sightings seem to be in the news right now, and about two gator attacks on humans in Florida in recent weeks.
"Can Easily Eat A Cow"
"We knew this gator could end up being a big problem if not dealt with immediately," the group said on Facebook. "A gator this size can easily eat a calf or even a cow, working cow dogs are also a big concern." A drone found the large gator "in a secluded creek" after water levels had dropped. A local rancher contacted Mike Kimmel, the head of Martin County Trapping who's known as the "Python Cowboy" on social media, to remove the animal. Kimmel didn't release details of the hunt, but photos taken after the capture show the gator was shot with an AR-style rifle.
Mating Season Brings Gators Out
The animal was discovered during alligator courtship season—early April through June—when males tend to wander onto unfamiliar land in search of females. Male alligators have been seen crossing busy roads, sunning themselves in backyards, and swimming in family pools. And they can be dangerous. "These big bull gators will try to (dominate) the area and kill all other male gators," Kimmel wrote on Facebook. "Not all gators can reach this size. A combination of genetics, opportunities and diet attribute to a gator being this size." Kimmel estimated the animal was 15 to 20 years old. "He's lived a good life in the wild, but now it's his time to be removed," he said.
Special License Issued
The hunters intend to utilize every part of the alligator, harvesting the meat for food, the hide for leather products, and the skull for "an educational display," Kimmel said on Facebook. A certified alligator trapper, Kimmel was issued a special management credential by the state to kill the gator. "The state and their biologists issue us tags to manage the gators on this property, and no relocation is not possible," he said. "It would be illegal and irresponsible. This is done because gator population control is crucial for the health of the gator population, the ecosystem and for the safety of surrounding areas." The longest alligator recorded in Florida was 14 feet, 3.5 inches. The heaviest was 1,043 pounds at 13 feet, 10.5 inches, the Florida Wildlife Commission says.
Woman Killed By Gator While Walking Dog
Alligator attacks on humans are rare, but multiple incidents have been in the news this spring. "Not very long ago, Florida actually had an older woman pulled into the water and killed by a much smaller gator," Kimmel wrote. Last month, an 85-year-old Florida woman was killed by a 10-foot-long alligator while walking her dog at the Spanish Lakes Fairways retirement community. The giant reptile lunged from a pond and dragged her into the water, neighbors said.
A Gator At the Front Door
And in early March, a Florida man was attacked by a nine-foot-long alligator after he opened the front door to his house. According to police, the man heard a noise in his front yard and opened the front door to investigate. He was surprised when an alligator lunged at him and bit him on the upper thigh. Police officers responded and called in a trapper to euthanize the gator. The man was transported to the hospital, where he underwent surgery for non-life-threatening injuries.