Over the past 24 hours, a gigantic prehistoric reptilian colossus stole the hearts of the internet when it ambled across a Florida golf course and simultaneously charmed and completely terrified us all.
We’re talking about the massive 15-foot alligator, of course. Unless you live in Florida, where alligators are literally par for the course, according to The Guardian, you might not be aware that we live in a world that is also inhabited by leftover dinosaurs.
Fortunately, the chill-ass monstrosities that show up on Florida golf courses are usually pretty nonviolent, but try telling that to Gustave, a Nile crocodile (not a gator, but close) from Burundi who’s over 60 years old and is rumored to have killed over 300 people. For reference, Gustave is reportedly over 20 feet long, which is just completely batshit ridiculous, but yesterday’s golf-gator was only five feet shorter.
Male American alligators are the second largest ‘gators in the world, behind South America’s black caiman, and can regularly grow to 15 feet. It’s not super common though — on average, they’re usually only 11.2 feet long, so seeing a 15-footer is rare.
Here’s the one that Charlie Helms, a golfer at the Buffalo Creek Golf Club in Palmetto, Florida, caught on tape yesterday:
Helms was remarkably chill about the whole thing as well.
“It is very common to see alligators on a Florida golf course and they’re typically not a threat to golfers,” Helms told Golf.com. “Wild alligators are shy and will not bother you unless you provoke it or corner it so it feels threatened.”
Helms’s buddy Dave is the other guy in the video — and look, whatever Helms and science says about the American ‘gators being pretty harmless, we’d like to say that Dave is a goddamn maniac, both because he’s filming the 15-foot long thing in portrait mode and because he’s just casually strolling along behind it.
At one point, Helms says that the gator “Looks like two guys in an alligator suit!” which would make sense if the two guys were Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming, maybe. And remember Gustave? Turns out he’s not even the biggest or deadliest type of reptile-monster-dinosaur thing. Gustave measures up with the largest (on average) species, the saltwater crocodile, which are the ones in Australia and India.
The Florida ‘gator was around 15 feet, which puts it at two full standard deviations (usually set at around 2.06 feet) from the average size of 11.2 feet. In other words, like Gustave, this golf-loving bad boy was a prehistoric freak of nature as well as a very prescient reminder that we live in a terrifying world of creatures that could totally kill us if they wanted to. Stay woke, and away from golf courses in Florida.