WATCH: Alligator Chows Down on 22-Pound Thanksgiving Turkey

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Alex Pankratov via Getty Images)

An indoor pool is a rare luxury typically reserved for hotels and multi-million dollar mansions. Animal expert Corbin Maxey, however, has three … that he shares with a few pythons. And a couple of massive alligators lovingly named Soni and Chompers.

In truth, the animal expert’s indoor pools aren’t for human use at all. Instead, they’re to provide his water-dwelling residents with their preferred habitats.

Maxey, a YouTuber “dedicated to reptile rescue, conservation, and education,” spends his days finding homes for homeless and abused reptiles and amphibians. As part of this mission, the conservationist currently cares for more than 30 rescued animals in his small collection of animal houses in Marsing, Idaho.

A passionate animal enthusiast, Corbin Maxey provides those in his houses with the utmost care. This includes specialized habitats for each of them, plenty of food and water, stimulating activities, and special treats for the holidays – because even the scaliest of his friends deserve a Thanksgiving meal.

“Every year for Thanksgiving, we do specially themed diets for our animals,” Maxey explained to Newsweek. “Whether it’s a giant veggie/fruit tray in the shape of a turkey for our giant tortoises or a big meal for our carnivorous animals, like the alligators.”

Soni the alligator is a 10-foot, 450-pound predator. As such, he receives the biggest treat of all. This year, that meant a 22-pound Thanksgiving turkey. Served raw, of course.

“It provides him with a larger prey item than usual and it’s great enrichment for him,” Maxey said. “It switches up his routine and allows him to use his natural instincts to try and swallow a big meal like a 22lb turkey. It’s also fun to document for our audience.”

Soni the Alligator Has a Very Refined Palate

This wasn’t the first time Soni the alligator received a massive raw turkey as a Thanksgiving treat. Last year, Corbin Maxey gave his armored friend another turkey. Despite his impressive size, however, Soni wasn’t able to finish it.

Maxey explained that this is because the alligator isn’t used to such large meals. Because of the size of the turkey, Soni would need to tenderize the meat by munching on it for several hours before swallowing.

This time around, Maxey left the room, giving Soni his privacy. In doing so, he hoped to make the giant gator comfortable enough to keep his jaws occupied for the hours necessary to finish his meal.

Leaving Soni alone with his dinner did the trick. After three hours of chewing, the alligator successfully broke the bones of the turkey and swallowed the whole thing.

Corbin Maxey and Soni the alligator have been friends for an astounding 16 years, Maxey rescuing Soni from a teenager’s bedroom back in 2006. “I received a call from the teenager’s mother that she was tired of the alligator getting out and going into the kitchen,” Maxey explained.

“Soni was a little under four feet when I rescued him and now he’s around 10 feet and 450 pounds. Soni also enjoys eating whole chickens,” he added. “From the store, he hates feathers. And premium Angus beef.”