Alligator Missing Top Half of Its Snout Spotted In Florida Lake

The gator likely lost its top jaw in a fight.

May 26, 2015, 4:17 PM
An alligator was spotted missing half of its snout in Tampa Bay, Fla.
An alligator was spotted missing half of its snout in Tampa Bay, Fla.
Myra Evers

— -- A Florida woman discovered an alligator missing the top half of its snout in Lake Hancock in Lakeland, Florida.

Myra Evers photographed the gator Monday after seeing it swimming in the marsh while she was biking on a nearby trail. Its bottom jaw and teeth and can be seen peeking above the water's surface in the photo.

"The alligator looked really horrible like he couldn't eat anything," Evers told ABC News today. "I couldn't sleep last night thinking about it."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FCC) in Lakeland says that such an injury is unfortunately not uncommon.

"This kind of injury usually happens when alligators fight with each other, mostly for territorial or cannibalistic reasons," FCC spokesman Gary Morse told ABC News today. "They tend to get aggressive toward one another, particularly males during mating season, which runs from the end of March to the beginning of June."

Morse added that "the state of Florida doesn't provide funding or facilities" for the rehabilitation of alligators because the species isn't endangered based on its population.

"There are over one million adult alligators in Florida," he said. "Rescuing this alligator would also be very dangerous, and there's nothing that can really be done to nurse back a missing jaw. The gator could be taken elsewhere to an alligator facility or farm, but it'd probably have to be euthanized and then processed for its meat and hide."

Morse explained that the best thing the commission could be do for the gator was to hope that it could make it on its own, allowing nature to take its natural course.

"Again, we've seen these kinds of injuries before -- parts of tails missing, parts of legs missing, parts of snouts missing," he said. "Injuries happen to all sorts of wildlife and when dealing with nature, the laws of nature are not always kind. We can feel for these animals, but there are unfortunately times when there is nothing you can really do to help."