Alligator Tossing Football Brings New Meaning to 'Go Gators' in Florida

A Florida alligator stunned rangers at the Everglades National Park after it was seen playing catch with a football in the water.

According to park officials, a visitor spotted the alligator along a trail near the visitor center on May 31. The visitor told park rangers that the gator had a football in his mouth.

Rangers said they recognized the bull gator, since he is often seen during tram tours with a female gator and her offspring.

Florida is home to approximately 1.3 million alligators, which can be found living across all 67 counties. Gators can live up to between 30 to 50 years in the wild.

Alligator found tossing football collage
Park rangers said the alligator tossed the football before catching it again in its mouth. NPS Photos by Ross Studler and Dylann Turffs

Alligators are opportunistic feeders and prey on easily accessible species such as small mammals, birds, fish, and snakes, according to FWC.

While the average female alligator can grow up to 10 feet long, the longest alligator in Florida state history was more than 14 feet long and the largest weighed 1,043 pounds.

Rangers reported seeing the gator with his "head high in the air" and his jaw around the football "as though it were prey."

The gator then "tossed the football and caught it again" before adjusting his grip.

Park Crocodilian Biologist Mark Parry was called to the scene to find the gator still chewing on the football.

Parry utilized two long poles and rope in an attempt to grab the football, but the gator dropped it out of its mouth.

"Shark Valley rangers have added the football to their collection of props for interpretive programs," the park wrote on Facebook.

They added that it is unclear if the football was left deliberately or accidentally.

"The lucky alligator continues to delight visitors on the Tram Trail, as they walk, bike, or ride trams past!" the statement read.

Commenters joked about the incident on Facebook, with one user writing: "New Wide receiver? Go Gators?"

"Lets go Gators!" another user echoed.

"FSU could use this guy," one person commented.

Newsweek reached out to the Everglade National Park for comment.

Last week, a Florida man was bitten by a seven-foot-long gator while taking a night time walk outside. The 49-year-old man allegedly told officials that he thought the large reptile was a dog walking through the bushes.

Another Florida man was fatally attacked by an alligator while allegedly looking for a frisbee. An alligator trapper was called in to remove the alligator. Another alligator in Tampa, Florida was found stalking the outside of a children's pool.