Lifestyle & Belief

This river otter attacked a Florida alligator and ate it alive



Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge

Nature has officially gone insane.

Last week we gaped in horror at these photos of a 10-foot python strangling and swallowing an entire crocodile in northern Queensland, Australia. The epic, 5-hour struggle ended when “the snake uncoiled itself, came around to the front, and started to eat the crocodile face-first,” according to an eyewitness.  


Post-meal you could actually see the crocodile outlined inside the snake — much like this whimsical drawing from the French children's classic, The Little Prince


But then this week we learned about something even more horrifying. In a parallel universe called Florida, a fluffy river otter attacked a juvenile American alligator and ate it alive. With much crunching of bones.

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge via Facebook

These harrowing photos were taken at Florida's Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in 2011 by a visitor named Geoff Walsh, who just posted them to the refuge’s Facebook page.

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge via Facebook

"How exactly does a 30-lb. otter take down a 5-foot alligator?," you ask. It clamps onto the gator’s neck from behind and stays outside its side-to-side strike zone.

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge via Facebook

Reptile expert Terry Phillip explains to National Geographic:

The otter has sustainable energy, whereas the gator is like a grenade, with explosive energy that doesn't last long. So the best tactic is to wear the gator out, which only takes a few minutes of thrashing and rolling around. Quite quickly it will be very tired, its muscles filled with lactic acid and no longer functioning. At that point it's almost like it's intoxicated, and the otter can then get it up on shore.

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge via Facebook

Once on shore the otter uses its sharp teeth to rip off pieces of the alligator’s hide and to get at the goo inside. WHILE THE GATOR IS STILL ALIVE.

Think about that the next time you see nature’s sea cat floating on its back and doing something impossibly cute with its paws.

But in addition to lurking and chomping, crocodiles and alligators have their own tactical surprises. It turns out that they can climb trees — up to 30 feet off the ground. Supposedly this is for basking and surveillance, but you never really know.

So now you can pick who you're more afraid of: death-hug pythons, death-bite otters, or death-from-above crocodiles and alligators. Now if you'll excuse me, I must run off into the horizon screaming. Good day.  

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