Viewer Discretion Is Advised…

Warning: The following scenes may be too intense for some viewers. They are intended for mature audiences only. Viewer discretion is advised…

This morning we saw an alligator near one of his usual spots but something immediately looked different. He had something in his mouth, some sort of animal. I don’t know whether he found it or caught it, but it was already dead and he could easily have been carrying it around the marsh for some time. He was holding it mostly under water at first and I couldn’t tell what he was having for breakfast. Eventually the alligator started lifting the animal up, thrashing it around, then throwing it back down into the water.

This went on for some time but I quickly realized the alligator had a raccoon. The gator seemed as surprised as I was and he actually didn’t appear to know exactly what to do with his catch. He wanted to eat it of course, but it’s too big to gulp right down, and alligators are not especially good chewers when it comes to larger birds or animals. They need to somehow tear off smaller bits so that was one reason why he was bashing it about and carrying it all over the place.

He swam over to a small bit of land and sat there with the raccoon for a while, even falling asleep at one point with the prey still grasped in his mouth. He tried smacking the raccoon into the ground several times in an attempt to shake loose some tasty bits.

After a while he swam across the marsh to the far back edge of the water with his catch which caught the attention of another alligator and a brief struggle and chase ensued. The by now very hungry gator ultimately swam back toward my side of the water where he once again sat still with his partially chewed up meal.

I realized that this could go on for some time and if the alligator can’t manage to eat most of his prize he will likely stash it somewhere and come back for it later. Of course in the meantime it could be found by some other alligator who will attempt to make his own meal of the by now marinated feast.

But once again…high drama out in the marsh!

Alligator With Raccoon

Alligator With Raccoon

Alligator With Raccoon

Alligator With Raccoon

Alligator With Raccoon

Alligator With Raccoon

Alligator With Raccoon

38 thoughts on “Viewer Discretion Is Advised…

  1. I’m not a fan of raccoons since they have killed numbers of our chickens over the years. These are magnificent photos Phil. Glad the gator got a morsel more than he knew what to do with!

    • I was even surprised to see thus guy trying such a big meal this early in the season. I would not be surprised if he just stumbled upon that raccoon and took advantage of an opportunity more by instinct then anything else.

    • It sounds funny but they really do enjoy a nicely marinated meal. The problem comes up when a gator goes back to claim his perfectly done dish and astonishingly somebody else already took it! How disappointing.
      And this was a huge problem for the boy. He wants to eat it but can’t gulp it. They need to figure a way to use their big paws to hold stuff while they rip at it. But would that be good for the rest of us?!?

    • When I first saw it I thought he had an otter. We have had one or two around recently and at first I only saw brown fur. I still feel bad about the poor raccoon but we have a ton of those and not many otters.
      Oh well, so it goes in nature.

  2. Wow – hope that wasn’t Vicky’s little “Rocky” from her fall photo collection! Great captures – although I am not sure I would stay to watch (not a fan of horror movies either, lol). Did see a rather large gator terrorizing a leather deck shoe for several hours last summer. Not sure what happened to the owner of the shoe, but the gator was at a water hazard on a local golf course. Mr. Gator was finally relocated as he disrupted too many golfers. Not much chance of your gator being relocated for lowering the raccoon population.

    • Yes nature can appear cruel at times, but so it goes with the food chain as you say.
      It’s also possible the alligator found an already dead raccoon and conveniently picked it up. They are opportunists.

    • I would love to be there to hear Thea make these comments, it brightens my day! I would also be happy to take her along on a personal alligator tour, I reckon she would love it. Thanks to you all! :mrgreen:

  3. Great shots and such an interesting thing to see. It must be very unusual for a large predator to catch something and not know how to eat it. Him falling asleep with prey in his mouth is just too funny.

    • He was flinging that poor raccoon all over the place presumably trying to tear it up into smaller bite size pieces. I don’t know if the gator got tired or what but he did take a brief nap with the raccoon still firmly clenched in his jaws. It was pretty funny (well not for the raccoon) but whadaya gonna do?

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