An alligator weighing an estimated 700 pounds and measuring 13 feet 4 inches was found in a ditch in southwest Georgia, UPI reports.
A farmer called the Georgia Department of Natural Resources after finding it in an irrigation ditch near a lake in Sumter County on Monday, WAFB-TV reported Friday.
A photo showing the gator with DNR wildlife biologist Brent Howze in the background appeared on social media before it was reported to the media.
“Apparently a lot of people think it’s fake, but I can assure you that it is not,” Howze told the Cordele Dispatch. “I’m the one in the picture, and you can probably tell that I didn’t get too close to it.”
The reptile was estimated to be 50 years old.
“Once we got him on bank and could assess him, we noticed he had several injuries including previous gunshot wounds,” said DNR wildlife biologist Brent Howze.
Because he was in poor condition, the gator was euthanized. Alligator don’t treat humans as a food source.
“You’re perfectly safe,” Howze said. “These animals exist. They’ve been here for centuries, they’ve been existing with people for centuries and they’re gonna continue to.”
By avoiding human contact, alligators can go massively. “This guy was hiding pretty good to get that big,” Sarah Hanson, a spokeswoman for DNR told USA Today.
She credits the state’s alligator management program, including putting yellow tags on their tails to watch and keep track of the population.
Alligator hunting season is Aug. 17 through Oct. 8 and a permit is required to legally hunt them.
The largest the largest alligator found Georgia was 14 feet 1 inch in 2015, according to Hanson.