Giant Alligator

image An image has been circulating showing a giant alligator hanging from a crane, as a person in uniform walks behind it. But according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (as quoted in the Texarkana Gazette), the image is fake:

"It's fake. It didn't happen. We don't just go out and kill alligators just because they are there. I don't know why anyone would perpetuate something like that," he said. "There is a lot that comes across the Internet that is fabricated," said Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Lt. Don Albright...
According to the photograph's accompanying text, Evening Shade, Ark., residents Charles and Anita Rogers, who may or may not exist, said they could hear "bellowing" during the evening hours. According to the story, their neighbors attributed the alleged noise to a giant alligator they saw in the pond that runs behind their home.
"I didn't believe it," Charles Rogers said in the story.
Albright said the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has detained large alligators in the past like the one seen in the picture. However, he said the organization has a policy to protect the alligators rather than shooting them, hanging their remains from a suspended crane and taking pictures of their trophy.

But how exactly is it fake? That's not clear to me. Is it the caption that's fake? Or has the image been photoshopped? Snopes suspects the image is genuine, but has the incident occurring in Texas.


Posted on Thu Aug 25, 2005


wow that picture is just about as real as my sisters boobs. I mean look at the picture, Look At The Person What is he a robot?
Posted by ElitebanditSin  in  Ohio  on  Sat Sep 10, 2005  at  02:33 PM
being truthfully serios, it could be a super croc, they can get very big
Posted by vurb  on  Thu Mar 30, 2006  at  09:31 AM
The alligator is 10-11 feet long, impressive but not impossible... How do I know.... follow the yellow strap.... back to the ford heavy duty truck in the back ground on the left... only the tailgate and back of bed can be seen... the strap is caught on the tailgate support cable, the strap has a hook on the end and you can judge width by the truck... I have the same tow strap in my work truck.. it is 2.5 inches wide (very common yellow tow strap, most state-fed field persons carry one)... look to were the strap crosses the gator, it is as wide as one segment in the hide... count up about 4-5 segments you get a foot in length... over all about 10 or so feet...... It looks to me like the animal was in the bed of the ford, (there is also a chevy 4 door truck in the way back, not that one) and is being lifted out by the backhoe, probably a 18" ditching bucket on the hoe arm... it is force perspective in that the gator is much closer to the camera than the man, trucks, or tractor.....
Who knows why it is dead??? one can only assume... maybe old age... harhar! why is the tail bent up and the head out straight, rigamortis (spp?) if the gator was in a 8 foot truck bed with the gate closed and is 11 feet long his tail would be bent about that much... and rigor will keep the body straight for a little while in the possition is rigored in... I don't know how long that is for gators..?

I love hoaxes... I've seen alot of them...

Wildlife Technician
Posted by Ben Tabor  in  Lake Placid, ny  on  Sun May 14, 2006  at  07:08 PM
It looks pretty real to me...i mean i know that yall just dont go out and kill them but, i mean if it is something that big it needs to be why waste a good portion of alligator meat...can you say Bar~B~Q!!!!
Posted by Desiree  in  Lakeland, FL  on  Fri Jul 07, 2006  at  02:17 PM
I was just looking for alligator reference photos, but I gotta say it cause I'm apparently the only person who noticed - the photo is fake because thats not a crane. That is a backhoe, you cannot lift/hang an alligator from the prongs on the shovel of a backhoe.
Posted by Sarah  in  Boston  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  02:26 PM
Someone else mentioned the the backhoe before. It looks like there's some kind of bar welded to the teeth of the bucket. I've never seen anything like that before, but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The shadows in the photo are correct and the light color on the gator's skin are correct too. That doesn't mean this isn't a fake photo, but it lends credence to it. Photos sometimes look fake for various reasons. We don't tend to notice until we have reason to believe that they aren't real. This, in my opinion, is one of those kinds of photos.

There are several details (the color of the reflected light on the gator's skin, the placement of the shadows and softness of the blooming of the light due to the lens) that would suggest that the photo is genuine. Unfortunately, there also some elements of the photo that look out of place. Primarily, the contrasty appearance of the alligator's skin and his "posture". The posture was explained quite satisfactorily by Ben Tabor a few posts ago. That leaves the contrasty skin. Since that would be an extraordinarily easy thing to "fix" for anyone with the skill to fake the convincing details I listed above... It is my opinion that this photo is real and untouched and that the size of the gator is impressive, but exaggerated by forced perspective.

A forced perspective theory would also explain the lack of a shadow for the gator. Actually, now that I study the photo a little more, I am noticing that the bucket on the backhoe seems enormously large. It looks to be nearly the size of the operator's cage. This is definitely a case of forced perspective.

There you have it.
Posted by Andrew  in  California  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  05:13 PM
Not all the shadows are correct. Most of the shadows look like the picture was taken with the sun nearly directly overhead, but the man's shadow comes from sunlight to his right. Also, the shadow that the arm and bucket of the backhoe should be casting is missing. I think the picture is real, but the man was added for effect.
Posted by hcmomof4  in  So. Cal.  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  11:06 PM
The shadows are correct. The sun is almost directly overhead, but just a little to the right. Everything matches up. The officer's shadow (what little you see of it) is intersecting the shadow of the backhoe's arm. That might be what is causing the confusion for some.

I found this same photo on another site and it was smaller there. In that one, you could more easily tell that the gator is much closer to the camera than anything else in the photo. That's why he's so much "sharper". When the image is smaller, you can sort of tell that everything in the background (everything except the gator) is sort of out of focus.

The photographer was trying to get a good shot of the gator and probably didn't even intend to shoot the officer.
Posted by Willis  in  Texas  on  Sat Jul 29, 2006  at  11:30 PM
Yeah, now that you mention it, I can see that the backhoe arm's shadow is what I was seeing as the shadow from the officer's body. Thank you. As much as I HATE being wrong about something, I hate even more being wrong about it forever!
Posted by hcmomof4  in  So. Cal.  on  Sat Jul 29, 2006  at  11:43 PM
Hello, The picture as far as i can see has nothing wrong with the shadows. the frame of the picture is to high to catch the alligators shadow. the bed of the truck is down allowing the shadow to fall under the truck. The tow strap wrapped around the alligator looks like a two inch strap. and when you have an animal that large i dont believe that anyone is going to fuss over what kind of knot is used to hold it up. just my opinion.
Posted by jesse  in  virginia  on  Tue Aug 08, 2006  at  07:40 PM
Hello?! Wiess Lake, not Lake Weiss (misspelled AND backwards) isn't surrounded by Spanish Moss covered oak trees.And look how the strap isn't even attached to the bucket.What a dope!
Posted by teri lay  in  GA  on  Wed Jan 10, 2007  at  05:24 PM
The picture is not a fake. And the gator was killed around Houston. The reason that i know this is because the officer that is showen name is Joe Goff, he is a Texas game warden. His father was also a game warden in Andrews Co. and other surrounding areas. Joe Goff shot the gator because of its threat to the location and had to be moved. He shot it with a single shot int he head with a .22LR.
Posted by Justen Wilson  in  Andrews, Texas  on  Fri Apr 13, 2007  at  03:42 PM
The photo is real. It was in the Brazosport Facts when it happened.

The largest gator that has been killed one block from my house there was 11.5 ft. long. The killer almost got in trouble, even tho the gator came out of the lake behind his house, chasing him and his dog, because it was not "gator season" yet. My husband was driving to work one day and saw the game warden and employees roping one that was 6 ft long. My neighbor had one on her front porch that was 3 ft. long.

If the gator is small enough it is taken to Brazos Bend Park. If it is too large it is shot and killed. This one was too large to move to a park and keep alive. I don't know what they did with the carcass. There was also one that was shot and killed in Katy Texas about a year ago, that is NW Houston.

You can go to Brazos Bend Park in Texas, in Brazoria County, and see MANY huge gators. They are allowed to roam loose, and you can walk right past them. We have done that for years, and no one has been attacked. They must keep them well fed and lazy. Do not let your dog run loose there without a short leash though. I still have the local newspaper with this gator photo on the front page. I will find out what date it was. But it is very real.

A friend of ours, Dick Robie, was out by a levee in Lake Jackson Texs and his dog was out in the water, and a gator came up and grabbed the dog. The dog did not survive. This levee is right behind McClean park and the little league fields and the recreation center, and the middle school is across the street from this area. No fences.

I still have that photo of that huge gator saved on my computer from when it was in the paper.
Posted by Barbara Tiemeier  in  Lake Jackson texas  on  Tue Apr 17, 2007  at  10:20 AM
BRAZOS BEND STATE PARK full of huge alligators.

They come up out of this lake, too. It is a block from my house. The biggest one I know of to date is 11.5 ft. long. It was shot and killed by David Melass.

"The work of the underwater archeology crews (which came to be known as the TAS Navy) attracted attention as well. Braving muck and a tangle of aquatic plants, Brenda Whorton and assistants surveyed the bottom of the oxbow lake to determine if it could have been smaller during the nineteenth century and used a magnetometer to look for anomalies. Their efforts paid off: they discovered the original road (now underwater) leading from the sugar mill to the other side of the lake where the slave quarters and other buildings were located.

Although the divers had been assured that there were no alligators present, the critters apparently returned soon after the TAS field school cleared out. The very day after field school ended, Joan Few learned that a 5-foot alligator was spotted in the lake!" I would call that one a baby.

I am flying to our house in Lake Jackson Texas on Sat. I will find that newspaper and put the date of it here when I get it. I have also emailed the Brazosport Facts and asked them for the date of the photo. It isn't the only big gator caught in Texas, only one of many.
Posted by Barbara Tiemeier  in  Lake Jackson Texas  on  Tue Apr 17, 2007  at  11:50 AM

Giant Alligator

Claim: Photograph shows a 13-foot alligator killed in Texas.

Status: True.

Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2005]

This is a real photo of a gator killed in Bay City, TX.

Lot of South Texas Nuc Plant folk live in this area. Look at the size of that head!

Here is another reason to stay out of the ditches and bayous.

This was found at Bar X, which is between Angleton and West Columbia, near a house. How would you like to meet this fella in the dark? Never let it be said that we don't grown them big in Texas.

April 2005:
Game wardens forced to shoot alligator
Published April 16, 2005

WEST COLUMBIA - Anita and Charlie Rogers could hear the bellowing in the night.

Her neighbors in Bar X Ranch had been telling them they had seen a giant alligator in the bayou that runs behind their house, but they dismissed the stories as exaggerations.

"I didn't believe it," Charles Rogers said. Friday they realized the stories were, if anything, understated. Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens had to shoot the beast.

(Caption: Joe Goff, a game warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, walks past a 13-foot, 1-inch alligator that he shot and killed in the back yard of the home at the Bar X Ranch on FM 521 near West Columbia.)

The startling picture was taken by Val Horvath, a photographer then working for The Facts, a newspaper in Clute, Texas.

The American alligator is commonly found throughout the southern U.S., including the eastern third of Texas, generally in and around fresh-water sources such as swamps, rivers, bayous, and marshes. They typically range in size from 6 to 14 feet in length, so a 13-ft. gator would certainly be a large specimen, but not an extraordinarily-sized one.

This image is another example of how positioning can exaggerate the apparent size of objects in photographs. The alligator is in the foreground of the picture, with its head turned towards the camera, while a game warden strolls in the background, making the reptile (particularly its head) seem proportionally larger than it really is.
Posted by Barbara Tiemeier  in  Lake Jackson Texas  on  Tue Apr 17, 2007  at  11:59 AM
I think that the gator my have actually been killed, but the shot was staged because the uniformed officer was not actually walking or there would have been a blurry picture of him because he would have been moving, where as in the actual picture his photo was clear and the edges sharp. it may have happened but the picture was defiantly staged...
Posted by Becky  in  Cleavland Ohio  on  Sun Apr 22, 2007  at  11:20 AM

It is true. THE FACTS our local newspaper
April 16, 2005 Still available online the front page from that date - I still have the hard copy at home.... my son insisted that we keep it.

You can contact the paper and ask them about it at

I don't know how big gators can get but the biggest one in my neighborhood was 11.5 ft long. That I know of.

They don't put "staged" photos on the front page. This one was very real. If they can catch them and take them to a wildlife park they do. If not, they must shoot them and haul them off. Which is sad and upsets all the local kids who see it. But not as sad as if the gator ate some of the kids. We also have a home in So. Calif. where we have a problem with mountain lions, coyotes, and bears coming into town and eating small pets. And even some large ones. It is just nature.
How big can an alligator grow?

Alligators can live to 60 or 70 years-old. Full grown females can reach 8 1/2 feet long. Males can reach 14 feet and the longest recorded gator was 19 feet long.

"You can estimate a submerged alligator's size easily," Lazare says, "The length of nostrils to eyes in inches is about the length of the body in feet."

I went on this swamp tour a couple of years ago, just outside New Orleans and it was quite interesting. We got to walk on the boggy swamp land, and we got to hold a baby gator.
Posted by Barbara Tiemeier  in  Lake Jackson Texas (and Los Angeles)  on  Wed Apr 25, 2007  at  01:16 PM
Forgot to mention, Brazosport Texas and Houston were built on swamps, and alligators were here first. They get quite large, they go back to the .......

Did gators crawl out of Jurassic Park?

Almost. Alligators have existed since early in the Jurassic period (140-190 million years ago), but they are reptiles, which means they are cold blooded. They cannot regulate their own body temperature and have very low metabolism rates, says Lazare. In winter, their metabolism slows down further and in temperatures below 78 degrees they cannot digest food. Instead it will actually rot in their stomachs. Not that this keeps alligators from hunting. But in winter they will slow down and sleep for several days at a time in partially submerged dens they build at a bayou's edge or riverbank.
Posted by Barbara Tiemeier  in  Lake Jackson Texas and Los Angeles  on  Wed Apr 25, 2007  at  01:19 PM
In addition to Ben's forced perspective observations and visual measurments, I have one to add. The gator is clearly held above the ground a good distance distorting its size. The tail does not touch the ground and is being held up by something out of photo. This gives the sense of the gator being on the ground, but judging from the man's shadow being visible uder the tail, it is a safe bet the animal is at least a foot off the ground. This mixed with the gator being the foremost object in the picture gives an inflated sense of its size.
Posted by Joe  in  Maine  on  Wed May 02, 2007  at  02:17 PM
At this point, I think it would be more expedient to just cut and paste the info from previous posts rather than going to all the trouble of putting it into your own words.

Of course, that might be a bit presumptuous of me.. it's entirely possible that some are just too lazy to read the previous posts and honestly believe that they're contributing something new. If that's the case, then I apologize to them for mistaking their incompetence for dishonesty.
Posted by Jack S.  in  Los Angeles  on  Wed May 02, 2007  at  02:46 PM
It is fake.... the person casting strong shadows immediately beneath himself...and the gator none...the shadows on the underside of the gator dont match the shadowing throughout the image, and when blown up, the graininess of the gator as oppossed to the remainder of the image is different...the gator shows greater pixellation indicating it was blown up somewhat.
Posted by Kurt  in  Alaska  on  Fri May 11, 2007  at  01:28 AM
The Gator was taken in south Florida behind a home... The image is real and has not been altered. It's not too uncommon to see big gators like that in Florida Swamps.
Posted by Brian  in  Florida  on  Fri May 25, 2007  at  10:55 AM
As I said it is from the front page of the Brazosport Facts, we kept the paper copy because before this gator the biggest one in our neighborhood had been 11.5 ft. long. This one was over 13 ft. long. Check it out

Gator done

Joe Goff, a game warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, walks past a 13-foot, 1-inch alligator that he shot and killed in the back yard of a home in the Bar X Ranch on FM 521 near West Columbia.

Published April 16, 2005
Photo by Val Horvath

Since then there has been another one in my little hometown - we are moving back there next week!

Now there is another gator story there...

Gator raises stir in Jones Creek

By John Lowman
The Facts

Published May 15, 2007

Posted by Barbara Tiemeier  in  Los Angeles California  on  Fri May 25, 2007  at  11:03 PM
Kurt & Brian - it is not fake. It is over 13 ft long. Check out Brazos Bend State Park you can see lots of them without fences. If you take your pets, keep them on a leash. One time we counted 26 of them at the park, sunning themselves. They must keep them well fed because they never attack and there is nothing between you and the gators.

You can still look it up at
Front page of our local paper in 2005.

Re: Brazos Bend State Park
One of the best spots in Texas to photograph the alligators is probably the 2000 hectares Brazos Bend State Park, managed by Texas Parks & Wildlife. It is the best example of prime inland habitat in Texas and one of the best examples in the entire United States as well. It is very different from other coastal and inland sites in that a large number of alligators exist in a single locality where several bodies of water are in close proximity to each other and are interspersed by trails. This is significant in terms of viewing alligators without disturbing them with a noisy airboat engine.
Posted by Barbara Tiemeier  on  Fri May 25, 2007  at  11:12 PM
Just so you know, this picture is real. I was there when they took the photo.
Posted by Becca  in  Lake Jackson, T.X.  on  Tue Jun 12, 2007  at  11:26 PM
Yes, apparently none of the photos circulated with this hoax are fake, just the locations.
(Someone has too much time on his hands!)
There are TWO 13-foot gators pictured.
Live gator is from 2004 :
Dead gator is from 2005:
Posted by Dfoofnik  on  Sat Jul 21, 2007  at  04:48 AM
This town was built on a former swamp. It has rained about four inches every day here for the past month or two. It rains all the time. It is the home of alligators. They were here before we were. The area was first inhabited by the Karankawa indians. They spread alligator grease on their bodies as mosquito repellent. Don't know if it worked, but the mosquitoes are bad here, since it is swamp climate. They actually have The Great Mosquito Festival in the next town - Clute, Texas. That is all they have so they celebrate it. LOL I am back at home in Texas, after two years in LA. I have the actual front page of the newspaper that had the alligator featured on the front page. The Brazosport Facts. Saturday paper, April 16, 2005. I have it right here. says TRUE.

This is THEIR home, too. They were here FIRST. Like it or not. Just as there are coyotes in San Marino Calif. Just as there are grizzlies in Alaska. There are wolves and foxes around, too. Wild animals DO exist, like it or not. They are common at 12-14 ft. long. There have been several killed IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. Timbercreek area of Lake Jackson Texas. The biggest one was 11 ft long right down the street. They are common here. We killed a copperhead snake in our yard in April. We killed a Prairie rattlesnake in June - NOT usually in this area. And we tried to kill a coral snake here in our yard in July, but it got away. They are very deadly, as poisonous as a cobra.

That is what it is like, in a swamp.
Posted by Barbara Tiemeier  in  Lake Jackson (formerly a swamp) Texas  on  Sat Jul 21, 2007  at  07:09 AM
My wife and I lived in Bar X 4 years ago. There were always stories of a 12' Gator in the Ditch there. One night my wife heard a loud noise, the next day we found a full grown doe but in half by this gator (or a large one like it). I believe that a large gator can live in Bar X, and that many do.
Posted by Chuck  in  Houston  on  Mon Jul 23, 2007  at  03:37 PM
ummm.... ok im like a like blond like and i dont get wat this picture like i think that it is crule to take pictures of a boy taking a poop. cuz that is what the pic ya like ya like......oh my god ya
Posted by ashley  in  california  on  Sat Aug 04, 2007  at  08:54 AM
ok heres what im seeing so far the alligators head is lolled to the side in a funny postion if you make the pic bigger and look at the rope tied to the crane there is really nothing its tied to the tail is also bent even though its not touching the ground the alligator has no shadow and the mans does not travel over his tail at all although i have seen alligators that size and larger ive never known the gamewardens of florida to kill them unless they are proven dangourus to humans or pets but for pets they will most likely relocate them so i say this picture must be doctored
Posted by Alligator stan  in  in IL fri sep 13 2007  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  02:41 PM
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