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Massive 920-Pound Florida Alligator Captured Outside of Disney World

Massive 920 LB Florida Alligator Captured Outside of Disney World
Credit: Disney/ Canva

You’ll find a few things that are unique to the state of Florida when visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando. The sub-tropical state is home to daily thunderstorms, diverse populations, Mickey Mouse, and Florida alligators. The American Alligator is a formidable keystone species that you’ll find throughout most of the southeastern United States. The scaled, semi-aquatic reptile can be found in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Arkansas. However, a quarter of the United State’s American Alligator population calls the state of Florida home, and as the state is a top-rated tourist destination, run-ins often happen, even at “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”

Orlando, home of Walt Disney World, is a booming tourist spot in the US due to its unofficial moniker of “Theme Park Capital of the World.” Vacation spots like SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando, and Walt Disney World lure in millions of visitors each and every year. Despite its expanding growth, Orlando is also still teaming with wildlife native to the state of Florida, one of those species being the American Alligator. Although many may only associate wild Florida with places like the Everglades National Park when it comes to alligators, a typical rule of thumb is to always remember that if there’s water nearby, alligators are present, even if you can’t see them.

water at disney world alligator trappers

Alligator trappers at Disney World/Credit:

Walt Disney World is no different. Although the resort may feel like its own personal safe space, Disney World sits right in the middle of a swamp, and wildlife runs abundant with deer, snakes, rodents, bears, and alligators present throughout the grounds. The problem is so prevalent; sadly, there have even been deaths recorded at Walt Disney World due to the American Alligator. In 2016, a young child was killed by one of the predators while his family vacationed at the Grand Floridian Resort. Since then, Disney has taken a more proactive approach to managing and educating about the American Alligator population on their Florida property. Teaming with Florida Wildlife officials, they have removed nearly 250 alligators from Walt Disney World since the toddler’s death in 2016.

Just outside of Walt Disney World sits Lake Kissimmee, which, by density, is one of the most highly infested lakes in the entire state when it comes to the American Alligator. Other bodies of water that are home to the awesome reptiles also surround Walt Disney World, making the outskirts of Orlando a perfect place for alligator trackers to hunt the species, which has seen a boom since the 1990s when strict measures were put in place to secure the future of the animal. Alligators are allowed to be harvested in the state of Florida under state guidelines issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. As the American Alligator population has seen a sharp increase, managing the species through appropriate hunting and harvesting measures ensures the safety of human life and maintains the fragile balance in Florida swamps and ecosystems. For this reason, many alligator hunters look forward to the time of year when they can pack their gear, head to the boats, and harvest a few of the reptiles for sale, where their meat and hides are repurposed for food and goods.

Massive 920 LB Florida Alligator Captured Outside of Disney World

Credit: Wesh2/ Carson Gore

One particular hunter, Kevin Brotz of Florida Gator Hunting, got the surprise of his life when we recently caught the second-largest American Alligator on record near Walt Disney World in Orlando. The hunter, who’s harvested nearly 1,000 gators, would find himself in for quite the ride when he hooked a massive 920lb alligator while out on a recent trip. After a serious fight, the gator was successfully harvested, measuring 13 feet 3 ¼ inches long, just shy of the state record of 14 feet, 3½ inches, 1,043 state record, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Carson Gore, who was hunting with Brontz that day, noted that although he is a seasoned hunter of the American Alligator, he’d never experienced something quite like that, calling the experience “surreal” and “totally humbling.” In an interview with Wesh 2, Gore called the massive animal a “giant dinosaur.” He went on to explain the experience in further detail.

“When we saw this gator, it was way bigger than anything we’ve ever caught before; it was a giant dinosaur. Not every day you get a giant dinosaur in your boat. I laid down in the front of the boat and said, ‘Alright, I have to lay down until we get back,’ because I thought I was going to die. That thing was huge.

Massive 920 LB Florida Alligator Captured Outside of Disney World

Credit: Wesh2/ Carson Gore Instagram

Brontz went on to explain that the giant alligator was harvested according to the law on tagging through the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program. It was caught on water using a rope and hook mechanism and, once harvested, provided over 130 lbs of usable meat, which will surely go to good use. Although not quite the state record, Brontz and Gore are proud of their catch and insist that harvesting such a large gator helps to maintain the current population of American Alligators in Florida, supporting them as a sustainable resource for hides and foods. Gore also went on to explain that the body of the second largest alligator ever harvested in Florida would go on to become a mount in his home. This particular specimen was captured in a relatively small body of water, a lake, in the Orlando area, reminding those visiting to always keep an eye out for wildlife. 

About Michael Arnold

Michael is a father, husband, and an Army Veteran. Michael spends his weekends at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando checking out new merchandise and food. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has an education background in Public Health. You can find Michael riding Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again or binge watching new Marvel and Star Wars content. Han shot first. Thor is the strongest Avenger. Roll Tide and Wash Your Hands!

8 comments

  1. Truly horrible to kill so many alligators. This was their territory first. Plus what kind of parents let their child run wild ignoring signs anfd posting of alligators. People think it is ok to go up to many kinds of wildlife trying to get selfies, trying to feed them etc. In the end it is always the animals who suffer. As they are always killed. Sick article glorifying the killing of alligators especially rare huge ones.

    • Culling plays an important part in conservation efforts.

      The parents of that little boy were ignorant to the dangers. Being from the midwest they didn’t realize how prevalent alligators are and at the time there were no alligator warning signs posted by Disney, those came after the tragedy. I’m sure being on resort property also gave them a false sense of security. He was right next to his dad, not running wild. No reason to victim blame.

      • Thank you for your kind post. Your are correct. That story broke my heart and I still think about that little boy today. I know live in Florida on a lake so I think about gators often.

  2. Yea boy killing a “dinosaur” is really something to be proud of-not

  3. Shame on them for killing the alligator. Why was it not released and allowed to go back to its home or even relocated to another body of water that could support a gator that size???? The photo of that poor gator hanging from a chain is, to me, heartbreaking and wrong on so many levels. That animal should not have had to die. Those people should really be ashamed of themselves – and, great example for the kids.

  4. If you save all of those creatures, maybe some day one will show up in your yard…then what would you do..try to pet it ? Some of the larger, harder to control animals have to be removed for public safety & their resources are used. Otherwise, we are the ones that will end up in cages for our own protection.

  5. Humans aren’t so good at sharing.. and we tend to kill anything we fear or don’t understand.. glad most of the comments are against killing the dinosaur