HomeOutdoorsViral‘Giant alligator fight’ erupts on Florida golf course: what really happened

‘Giant alligator fight’ erupts on Florida golf course: what really happened

by Jon D. B.
giant alligator fight
American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) compete for prime position during a feeding frenzy. (Photo: TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP via Getty Images)

In the viral footage, two large alligators engage in a brutal battle on the open green. Gator teeth are lost. Golfers gawk. It is truly wild. But what’s actually going on here? Are these gators actually giant and why are they tearing each other apart? Did this just happen?

Luckily, the original video is still around to answer these questions. And it is still absolutely wild, regardless of where or when it happened.

Filmed in The Eagles Golf Club’s golf course in Tampa, Florida, the video captures over four minutes of two large American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) engaged in a nasty dispute. The filming party, BdbradberryFL, uploaded the video to YouTube almost 12 years ago exactly. So no, it’s not new. But again, it is still a wild watch.

Aside from how old this viral footage actually is, the filming date also reveals a lot about this brutal battle. With a timestamp of May 14, 2011, these two Florida gators are most likely bulls, or males, engaged in a heated territorial dispute. Territory equals mating rights with the local females, and bulls will fight to the death for all of the above.

Mating Season Smackdown: Bull alligators are extremely territorial

Come May each year, American alligators are full swing into their mating season. Courtship between males and females begins in April, and on particularly sunny and warm years, mating can begin early in April, too. But a May date on this video almost guarantees that these two bulls are ripping each other to shreds because, well, love is in the air:

“Two huge 11 foot gators fighting at The Eagles Golf Course in Tampa, FL. Footage of alligators in the wild fighting for territory and mating rights. Yes, I realize vertical footage sucks. I had just gotten the phone and didn’t want to turn it after I started recording. Next time I come across this I will film it horizontally, I promise.”


A closer watch of the footage also reveals one of the males is smaller than the other. This makes what we’re watching a common scenario. Seeing it filmed so close and on a golf course makes it uncommon, of course, but we’ll get to that.

The Ultimate ‘Florida Man’?

Whenever a male alligator moves into a new territory, he better be ready to defend himself. Resident bulls will lash out aggressively at any perceived threat to what they see as theirs. If the threat is a smaller alligator, a fight like what we see above is all-but guaranteed. And the bigger the gator, the stronger the upper hand they have over any trespassers. If the smaller gator is small enough, there’s also the chance of becoming cannibalized.

It’s hard to get any exact measurements on these two from moving footage, but the gators do appear to be “large” in the sense that they’re not small. BdbradberryFL mentions “Two huge 11 foot gators” in his comments, but that’s likely his adrenaline talking.

In truth, these gators look to be around 8-feet-long, with one a foot or so shorter than the other. The smaller of the two is the one suffering those nasty neck bites and death rolls. During which, a tooth flies out, and BdbradberryFL takes it upon himself to approach the alligators and pick up the tooth. Which is just mind-blowing to me.

Alligators regularly shed and re-grow teeth throughout their lives. This is not the mind-blowing part. What is mind-blowing is that this Florida man willingly walks within inches of these two enormous reptiles covered in each-other’s blood.

Though, when “Florida man” is in the sentence, it automatically becomes less surprising.

Still, this is about as ill-advised of a wildlife scenario imaginable. Please never approach wildlife under any circumstances. Especially if said wildlife happens to be two 8-foot hormonal dinosaurs.