An American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) that was captured and tracked by the University of Georgia Coastal Ecology Lab has died, the lab an
An American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) that was captured and tracked by the University of Georgia Coastal Ecology Lab has died, the lab announced on Facebook. The 11 ft male, named Doc, weighed close to 400 lbs and was the dominant male at Mud Lake where he lived. Researchers at the lab captured and GPS satellite tagged him in April 2021. He was last observed in June 2022 in an apparent emaciated condition.
“We suspected Doc was an older alligator based on the sheer number of injuries he had, but when we saw how much weight he had lost in just over a year we realized he was even older than we initially thought,” the lab wrote on its Facebook page.
After the last sighting, the alligator moved 14.5 miles into the swamp and for some reason the GPS tracker stopped working in August 2022. The lab lost track of Doc, until Mike Nettles and Zack Carter of the the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge offered assistance. The lab suspected that Doc died, and were interested in the retrieval of the GPS tag. What they found was the tag and about 60 percent of his skeleton, including Doc’s massive skull.
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“…with all the bones we recovered we are still missing nearly 3ft of his spine as well as many of the small intricate bones in the feet! It is very difficult to age an alligator as you can really only make an estimate based on size, but it is common for alligators to live 60-70 years and possibly even longer! We are saddened by Doc’s passing, but are thankful for the data he provided and educational value his skeleton will provide.”
So long Doc, it seems you’ve lived quite the alligator’s life.