Viral photo of 700-pound gator is no hoax, officials say

(WFLA) — It’s a photo that’s been shared more than a thousand times on social media.  And, no it’s not a hoax.

A massive alligator was found this week in southwest Georgia.

The gator was picked up by three people Monday on the west side of Lake Blackshear off Stathem Lakefront Road in Sumter County.

A farmer called the Georgia Department of Natural Resources after finding it in an irrigation ditch.

“You’re perfectly safe. These animals exist. They’ve been here for centuries. They’ve been existing with people for centuries and they’re gonna continue to,” says Brent Howze, a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  “He was 13-feet-4 inches long, 57 inches in circumference to the chest and we estimate his weight between 700 and 750 pounds.”

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DNR believes the gator may have been 50 years old, but researchers are working to find the exact age.

He was found in a poor condition and was believed to be dying, so he had to be euthanized.