An enormous alligator spotted in Naples, Florida, has caused some to make a snap judgment.
The Naples Daily News reported Wednesday that the baby dinosaur was spotted at Valencia Golf & Country Club by PGA professional Jeff Jones, who shot footage of the gargantuan gator.
Even before Jones’ video was circulated on social media, Wink News meteorologist Matt Devitt tweeted photos of the gator, and the buff beast appeared so colossal, many thought the images could be fake.
One suspicious aspect of the photos and videos is that the ripped reptilian’s legs look suspiciously long.
“Not very many people get to see alligators high walk,” John Brueggen, director at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, told HuffPost via email. “But there is nothing abnormal about this alligator.”
Brandon Fisher, a gator expert and director of media relations at Orlando’s Gatorland, agreed.
“Nowadays anything can be make-believe or altered in some way,” Fisher told HuffPost over the phone. “But honestly, it seems pretty legit.”
Fisher explained that a high walk occurs when an alligator stands up with “full legs spread out completely,” and that the right front leg will move with the left back leg, and vice versa.
Fisher also noted that the reptile was pretty big for a “golf course gator” and estimated it was about nine or 10 feet long.
“Adult alligators, especially getting up to that nine-to-10 foot range and above, their legs are about a foot-and-a-half to two feet long,” Fisher added. “So, when they stand up, and they do that high walk, they’re going to look tall.”
David Steen, the reptile and amphibian research leader of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told HuffPost via Twitter that the gator’s actual size may be hard to gauge.
“I think some people might have a distorted sense of scale when looking at the photo,” he told HuffPost. “And the alligator may appear larger than it really is. I think many folks also aren’t used to seeing an alligator walking in the open.”
“There’s nothing unusual about the video. It’s a good-sized alligator out for a stroll.”
Tyler Stolting, a PGA professional who also shot footage of the animal (above) told the Miami Herald he saw the gator from his golf cart at around 2 p.m., and that there were no plans for the course to call a trapper or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“He was just taking a walk, crossing the path and doing his thing,” Stolting said. “We haven’t seen him since.”