The entirety of the internet headed for the high ground yesterday after pictures and videos surfaced of a massive alligator wandering through some protected marshlands in Florida. Nicknamed ‘Humpback’ because of its abnormally arched back, it’s one of the largest alligators to surface in recent years — looking well above average size for American alligators, who usually don’t grow larger than 11 feet.
Unsurprisingly, the videos went viral quickly, with people looking to cash in and comment on the sighting. Thematically, most of the commentary was of a piece, and consisted of users more or less losing their minds over the size of the animal. It’s not the first time something like this has happened, either. Last year, a group of golfers treated the web to their own sighting of an even bigger, 15-foot gator that was taking a stroll across the fairway in Palmetto. One has to wonder, in both of these cases, why the onlookers’ self-preservation instincts didn’t kick in and prompt them to get the hell out of there.
It’s a brave soul who took the time to record that video.
Naturally, people had some questions; the answer to more than one of which is probably: Whatever the hell it wants.
And, unfortunately for Florida, giant monsters are not the kind of attraction that tends to boost tourism numbers.
The gator is over 14 feet long, and likely as old as a middle-aged human. Considering that American alligators don’t typically live past an upper limit of 50, its age alone would be impressive. But, judging by his size and swagger, Mr. Humpback likely has a mean case of ‘old man strength’ to boot.
And sightings like this are only set to become more common as time goes on. Experts say we might have to get used to it as climate change warms more areas and allows gators to push farther north and farther inland.
Who knows? Some unlucky soul may soon find that they’re neighbors with Mr. Humpback. Good luck keeping him off your lawn.
Photos via @acme_wile.e.coyote / Instagram