A massive nearly 500-pound alligator survived getting hit by a semi-truck only to meet a tragic end.
An alligator trapper from Tallahassee, Broderick Vaughan, also got a call about the alligator. Vaughan has an extensive history of catching alligators and thought he was in for a routine call.
He wrote in a Facebook post for his company: “Received a call tonight about an alligator on the exit ramp to Monroe Street. I think to myself ‘yeah, right! It’s probably some tire tread from a semi.’ I send my buddies to check the ‘iguana’ and advise. They get on scene and locate the ‘swamp lizard’. He wasn’t dead either!!”
When he arrived, he realized it was one of the largest alligators he had ever encountered. And it was badly injured.
“I don’t handle big gators very often. I think I’ve had about four over 10 feet this year and that’s it,” Vaughan told WTXL. “Most of the ones I handle are mostly 6-footers, but you just handle it, it’s just part of the job.”
The alligator had sustained injuries after being hit by a semi-truck, according to CNN. The collision “injured [the alligator’s] snout and crushed its head on one side,” according to the report.
Vaughan told the news site when he arrived on scene he found the alligator wandering in circles, appearing confused.
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“I’ve been the trapper here in Leon County since April 2010 and that was the third biggest gator I’ve captured,” Vaughan told Tallahassee Democrat. “That was a pretty big one and he wasn’t happy that we were trying to remove him.”
To safely remove the alligator from the highway, Vaughan caught the alligator with a combination of a snare pole to trap it, and then “taped its mouth shut and wrestled it into the back of his truck” where he then transported the massive alligator to his home, according to CNN.
However, due to the extent of the alligator’s injuries, Vaughan decided to put it down that same day.
“There was no reason to keep him alive and let him suffer,” he told CNN.
He also shared a photo of the alligator at his home on Facebook.
He said this is the 85th alligator he’s captured this year, according to WTXL.
Under regulations from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, alligators over four feet in length are considered a “nuisance alligator” and can be a potential “threat to people, pets or property” and cannot be relocated.
According to the site, Florida has ” a healthy and stable alligator population” of about 1.3 million.
Last December, a similarly-sized alligator was also captured alive in Florida.
The alligator was captured on Dec. 19, as it was threatening divers who were working on a private project on the waterway, according to WKMG-TV.
Divers detected the massive gator underwater and promptly got out to request help, according to Jim Cutway, a licensed alligator trapper who helped in the capture of the alligator.
“The divers had less than 5 feet of visibility, and they knew he was there,” he told WKMG-TV. “The gator was very close [to] them. He was bothering them.”
Half an hour later, a trapper from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission came to help Cutway capture the beast.
“The divers said, ‘We’re out of here until something is done with him,'” Cutway said.
To coax the gator from the water, Cutway said he and the other trapper used calls until the gator “popped” his head above the water.
Cutway’s first reaction upon seeing the huge alligator was, “Wow!”
It took more than two hours for them to wrangle the gator out of the water and onto the shore. While they weren’t in any immediate danger, the gator did give them a “long-fought tug of war,” Cutway said. “That one was very girthy, big bull gator.”
Eventually, the large gator was taken to an alligator farm on the state’s east coast, the WKMG-TV reported.
As soon as the gator was captured, the divers returned to their underwater project, according to Cutway.