An 800lb (360kg) alligator, suspected of feasting on cattle, was killed by a farmer in Florida.
The 15-Foot reptile was one of the biggest, professional hunter Lee Lightsey, had come across on his alligator farm in 18 years.
He needed a tractor to pull the huge creature from a cattle pond on his land.
The BBC reports:
Mr Lightsey and hunting guide Blake Godwin discovered the alligator in cattle ponds while supervising a guided hunt on Saturday.
When the creature surfaced about 20ft (6m) away from them, they shot it.
“Although this animal is huge I was not that surprised it existed,” Mr Lightsey said. “We have come across lots over the last 20 years that have been only a little smaller.
“But what really drew our attention to this animal was the fact that it seems to have been feasting on the cattle on my farm, because mutilated body parts were found in the water. It was a monster which needed to be removed.”
Mr Lightsey’s company arranges hunts for alligators, wild boar and turkey on the farm he owns for hunting trips. The largest alligator previously killed was just over 13ft (4m) long.
He charges $10,000 (£7,060; €8,780) to kill an alligator larger than 13ft (4m) and $4,500 (£3,180; €3,955) to kill an alligator between 10ft and 12ft. The animals are mostly killed with a high-powered rifle.
“But always we kill them with the minimum of suffering without allowing them to be injured before they die,” he said.
There are hundreds of alligators for hunters between 10ft and 13ft, he says, while animals longer than 13ft are only encountered about once a year.
Mr Lightsey has been commercially hunting alligators since he began “harvesting” them in 1988 and more than 5,000 alligators bigger than 1.5m have been killed since then.
American alligators inhabit the south-east of the US with Florida and Louisiana each reported to have a population of more than one million alligators each.
Southern Florida is reputed to be the only place in the world where both alligators and crocodiles live alongside each other in freshwater environments such as rivers, lakes and swamps.
Mr Lightsey says he plans to get the alligator stuffed while the meat will be donated to charity.
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