We’ve all seen footage of giant alligators in or near the water. But have you ever spotted a gator in a thick forest? This Georgia deer hunter has.
Apparently alligators look even more like dinosaurs when you put them in the middle of the forest. These ancient archosaurs are indeed relatives of the mighty dinosaurs themselves and continue to shock us feeble humans millions of years after they first evolved on this wild planet.
Take this Georgia deer hunter’s footage, for example. Within, a mammoth 13-foot-long American alligator lumbers through a Macon County thicket. It’s one thing to see these beasts on the shoreline or in a swamp. But to see a gator waltzing through tree trunks is about as Jurassic Park as the 21st century gets.
“It was just another afternoon in the climbing stand for a bowhunter in Macon County, Georgia. Then he hears something coming, and with anticipation he tightens his grip on his bow… Oh but it was no deer,” begins Georgia Outdoor News.
“Like a scene from Jurassic Park, a huge alligator appears… Lumbering through the pines before laying down in a corn pile,” the outlet continues.
Yes, this gator makes his way directly for the hunter’s feed. Does he know this is where deer congregate?
According to GON, the hunter “was hunting in planted pines more than 1,500 yards—almost a mile—from a river and retention pond where a 13-foot alligator is known to reside. Before dark, the alligator lumbered away, but not back toward the river…”
Instead, the giant reptile went “straight toward the hunter’s truck!”
Something tells us this deer hunter will be far warier around Macon County from now on. And that something is a 13-foot monster.
Giant Gator Travels Inland to Stalk Through Forest – Is This Normal Behavior?
As Georgia Outdoor News says, this encounter surely “made for a hair-raising, careful walk out of the woods in the dark.”
But how typical is this behavior of American alligators? Traveling a mile away from a body of water is no small feat for a cold-blooded giant. Looking at their U.S. range, however, reveals an animal quite capable of travel over the eons.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, “American alligators can be found in the coastal wetlands of the U.S. Southeast, as far north as North Carolina and as far west as eastern Texas. Their range extends down to southern Florida and includes the Everglades. These reptiles are usually found in slow-moving freshwater rivers, but also inhabit swamps, marshes, and lakes.”
To get a wildly accurate sense of how far our American gators will travel on land, this study by Animal Biotelemetry breaks it all down with fascinating research.
In short: Have legs, will travel. But seeing a 13-foot gator is a rarity in itself. And spotting one within an inland forest is about as rare as it gets.