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Florida Golf Course Hazard

Charlie Helms was golfing with friends at the Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Palmetto, Florida, when a large alligator walked across the fairway. How large was it? “Dave, get next to it for perspective!”

(YouTube link)

It’s a monster, but not unknown to the staff. A pro shop clerk said he’s between 15 and 16 feet long, and owned by Manatee County. He’s their course mascot. That’s kind of like having a dinosaur casually hang around for tourists to take pictures with. -via Buzzfeed


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You're short by a couple feet. The largest gator on record with some confidence but not directly measured is ~19 ft. from Louisiana. Scientific studies have directly measured gators up to about 14 ft, and hunting records and sizes inferred from skulls are above 15 ft.

Also, their metabolism is quite low. A quick attempt at an estimate, using 5 kcal/kg body mass from a paper, gives something like 20000 Calories a week, which is how often they typically feed. That is only on the order of 5 kg of protein.

That said, this doesn't look like 15 ft long , and I wouldn't be surprised if it was just 12-13 ft. That is a size I remember seeing in the wild growing up in Florida, but not that frequently, and not around golf courses, which often remove gators once they get above 3-6 ft.
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I'm calling shenanigans. 13 feet is the largest gator on record (though they didn't actually measure this one). But more importantly, what would it eat? Something that size would need to take in a half-dozen deer (or other gators) every day, at least.
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