Alligator with strange protruding teeth seen on trail camera in Southwest Florida
An intimidating alligator with monstrous protruding teeth has been seen roaming Southwest Florida, and experts suspect it suffered a severe jaw injury.
The gator appeared March 13 on a trail camera set up to monitor panthers in Collier County, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
The gator in the video is about 10 feet long and may weigh as much as 220 pounds, the institute says.
However, it’s the teeth that stand out ... or rather, stick out.
“This alligator appears to have a jaw deformity causing some of its bottom teeth to protrude past (its) upper jaw,” Carly Jones of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute told McClatchy News.
“This is likely due to an injury. Jaw injuries are not uncommon in alligators and crocodiles. As long as the injury doesn’t prevent the animal from getting enough food, they can usually survive and (recover) from them, even if a deformity remains after healing.”
American alligators have “a broad, rounded snout with no lower teeth visible when their jaw is closed,” according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Their teeth are continually replaced as they age, possibly “up to 50 times,” Jones said.
The injured alligator has normal teeth, but they appear bigger due to its jaw deformity, she said.
How the gator was injured is not known, but it’s common for males to bite each other in battles over turf and females, resulting in limbs and tails being ripped off.
“In a normal alligator, the bottom teeth fit inside of the upper jaw, behind the top teeth, and therefore are not visible when the jaw is closed,” Jones said.
“In crocodiles, the bottom and top teeth interlock when the jaw is closed so the bottom teeth remain visible, especially the prominent fourth tooth in the lower jaw. This alligator’s jaw deformity makes it an unusual exception to this rule.”
The alligator was spotted in an area where researchers with the FWC Panther Project “are monitoring and assessing panthers for feline leukomyelopathy (FLM), a neurological disorder affecting panthers and bobcats,” officials said.
Collier County is about 220 miles southeast of Tampa.
Mysterious thrashing in Florida swamp was alligator eating an alligator, woman learns
Alligator looking for romance instead meets very stubborn Florida cop, video shows
Man checks yard to see alligator biting dog’s head. He pulled out gun, Florida cops say