The backyard footage is taking Twitter by storm, and for good reason. Watch as a behemoth alligator chomps, then swallows another gator whole.
Strangely, this is the third instance of alligator cannibalism I’ve written about in the past week. It’s a well-documented trait for the species: bigger gators eat smaller gators all the time. Yet with 4.6 million views and counting, this recent footage is showing an insane example of this to many people for the first time. And the comments are wild.
“This happened in my parents backyard today… The snack is a 6ft gator, #lowcountrylivin,” posts podcast host Taylor Soper to his Twitter Thursday. From the obvious-yet-perfect comparisons to Jurassic Park to people losing their minds that anyone would live in such a place, this snapshot of nature’s brutality is a potent one. Take a look:
Judging by the jowls on the big guy, that’s a hefty alligator. He could be anywhere from 12 to 18 feet long by his features compared to the grass on the shore. And his snack? A young gator that looks to be 5 to 6 feet long, as Soper cites. In the wild, food is food – and rarely do alligators care if the nearest food source happens to be a snackable-sized member of their own species. Sometimes, these behemoths will even feast on their own young in crowded ecosystems.
“My dad captures some good stuff all credit to him but he doesn’t have social media,” Soper continues of the post. Yet Twitter is wholly convinced that this backyard no longer belongs to his parents. At all.
“You still think this your parents yard after seeing this?” replies @ExecutiveG.
“Right? That gator basically told them he runs that yard,” Godzilla’s Soundcloud Stan responds. Can’t argue with that.
Alligator Cannibalism: Nature, You Scary
For adult gators, we humans are their only predator that isn’t another alligator. One of Outsider’s favorite shows, Swamp People, does a fine job of documenting this.
Across wetter regions of the Southeast, American alligators leave their aquatic hunting grounds to nest in estuaries several feet inland. These living dinosaurs are excellent builders, and craft entire miniature ecosystem for their offspring. This does, however, leave both the mother gator and her eggs vulnerable – as other gators recognize these spots as potential feeding grounds. Large males, in particular, will go ham on juvenile gators.
It’s an infinitesimal amount of the little gators that survive to adulthood compared to the number of eggs laid as a result. A female gator can lay anywhere from 30 to 50 eggs at a time. On average, only a handful will live to become the 6-to-20-foot monsters Swamp People stars and American hunters pursue. And from raccoons and foxes feasting on their eggs, to herons and other alligators constantly consuming tiny newborn alligators, their chances really are slim right out of the gate.