A woman celebrating her birthday with a drive past Florida’s Lake Apopka saw a rotting alligator start to move again, and things only got stranger from there.
Closer inspection revealed the 9- to 10-foot alligator was actually in the mouth of an even bigger gator, which was dragging it backwards across the lake.
One alligator preparing to eat another and a stunned Dawn Jarman couldn’t help but pull her phone out and start recording.
“I was with two friends and we just happened to drive up at the right time. We were freaking out, of course, because it was a National Geographic moment,” Jarman told McClatchy News.
“My friends and I thought that it was just a dead gator sitting in the water. As soon as we stopped the car to look at it, it started moving and we realize there was another gator holding onto the tail, we were freaking out to say the least. … There were quite a few excitable four-letter words.”
Florida’s male alligators are known to battle over territory and mates, and Jarman guesses it may have been a turf war that turned deadly.
The dead gator gave off a “putrid” odor, she says, but was still intact “which tells me it probably was only dead for a couple of days at most.”
It happened Friday, July 28, and she says the group watched from their vehicle until the alligator came to a lengthy stop in the water, then they drove off.
Lake Apopka, about 15 miles northwest of Orlando in Orange County, is home to hundreds of alligators, surveys have shown. The largest alligator found in Florida — 17 feet, 5 inches — was killed in the Apopka area, according to the University of Florida.
Jarman, a Florida native, shared her videos with the 12,900 members of the Birds and Wildlife in Florida Facebook group, where commenters called her “an alligator whisperer” for catching such a rare scene.
“That’s as Florida as Florida gets!” one commenter posted.