Alligator missing top part of jaw finds home at Florida’s Gatorland

A female alligator in Central Florida missing the top half of her jaw has been trapped and rescued, wildlife officials said.

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The reptile, which had avoided capture for weeks, now will live at Gatorland, located between Orlando and Kissimmee, according to a Facebook post by the theme park.

The alligator made national news when a photograph of the animal was released. It was originally spotted in nearby Sanford at Wilson’s Landing Park by resident Eustacia Kanter, according to Fox News.

Jerry Flynn, the licensed trapper who found the alligator, said the animal looked good other than her snout and was not starving because she was “pretty plump,” the Miami Herald reported.

The alligator was originally thought to be a male, but Gatorland officials believe it is a female.

How the alligator lost the top part of its snout remains a mystery, but Flynn believes that several years ago it was injured by a boat propeller, according to a video posted on Gatorland’s Facebook page.

Kanter had contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after finding the alligator, hoping that wildlife officials would find and rescue the alligator, Fox News reported.

Environmentalist Katrina Shadix, executive director at Bear Warriors United, also posted a plea on social media on Aug. 29.

The alligator appears to be 4 to 5 years old and will be kept on a special diet while away from other animals for now, according to the news outlet.

Officials at the theme park believe the alligator survived in the wild by eating snails and frogs.

“We are so blessed to have her with us now so she can live out her life in Alligator Paradise,” Gatorland’s Savannah Boan wrote on Facebook.

Gatorland officials said they will be holding a contest to name the alligator.

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