An alligator the size of a small SUV has been captured and killed in Mississippi – and it was so big, that officials say it broke a state record.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks said that four hunters in the state – Tanner White, Don Woods, Will Thomas and Joey Clark – captured the male gator on Saturday amid the ongoing alligator hunting season.
"He measured 14 feet and 3 inches long, with belly girth of 66 inches and tail girth of 46.5 inches," officials wrote on Facebook. "He weighed 802.5 lbs!"
The last alligator to hold the record was caught in 2017 and was found to be 14 feet and 3/4 inches long and 766.5 pounds, according to SuperTalk Mississippi Media. The size of the newer gator – significantly longer than the widths of three of the hunters standing side by side – shocked those who came across the department's post.
"That's a real dinosaur," one person wrote. "Had to be an amazing time for sure!"
"What a monster," another person commented. "You grow 'em big in Mississippi!"
The state has authorized a public alligator sport hunting season since 2005. Today, the season lasts 10 days and allows hunters with the appropriate permits to "harvest" two alligators over 4 feet long, with only one of them allowed to be longer than 7 feet. This year's season began on Friday.
The reptiles, which according to the state "are not naturally aggressive towards people," are not allowed to be captured and removed or killed without a permit from the state's wildlife department.
Alligator populations have become a source of contention in some areas of the state. Earlier this year, hunters were permitted to take part in an extra two-weekend hunt to reduce populations in some areas where residents told the Clarion Ledger that alligators were attacking dogs.
"It's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt," one woman who lives on the Pelahatchie Bay told the outlet. "The alligators need to go. We've got too many."
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