Watch Giant Cannibal Alligator Feast on Love Rival on Florida Golf Course

An enormous alligator has been filmed eating a smaller love rival on a golf course in Florida.

The footage was taken by Julie Marchillo Smith in Lakeland, with the 1.5-minute clip showing the cannibal alligator, dubbed Grandpappy, carrying off his competition across the green in his jaws.

In the video, which Smith posted to Facebook, one amazed onlooker can be heard saying "I have never seen one that big before." Another said: "Put that gator down!"

There are estimated to be over one million alligators living in Florida. They are found in all of the state's 67 counties.

Alligators are often found on golf courses as they provide an ideal habitat for these ancient predators, with plenty of water sources providing fish and other prey.

Alligator breeding season starts in April, with mating normally taking place between May and June.

The video of Grandpappy was reposted by the Everglades Holiday Park, which said: "With mating season fast approaching, male alligators start to get aggressive and will often kill smaller gators that enter their territory."

Coleman M. Sheehy III, from the Division of Herpetology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, told Newsweek alligators eating one another, as in Smith's video, was "totally normal behavior."

"Large alligators are well known to eat smaller alligators," he said. "However, the​ occurrence of this can vary quite a bit, partly due to what other food options are available and partly due to whether large gators have access to smaller gators.

"Smaller alligators generally avoid areas where large alligators live. This may be because their ecological needs are different—different food and habitat—but also so they don't get eaten by the larger gators."

Sheehy said alligators are opportunistic predators and will eat pretty much anything they can catch and swallow. He also said cannibalism may help to control the population size in some areas.

"Males get very territorial during mating season, and this can lead to more aggression than normal towards other male alligators," he said. "This can in turn lead to ​cannibalism if one of them is small enough to be eaten by the larger one."

Alligators can live to around 50 years old in the wild.

In her Facebook post, Smith said Grandpappy appeared to be around 20 feet long, while the smaller alligator was around six feet. This is likely an overestimation, as males normally grow to between 10 feet to a maximum of 15 feet. The largest American alligator on record in Florida was 14 feet, 3.5 inches.

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Stock image of an alligator. Footage of a huge male eating a smaller alligator has been filmed on a golf course in Florida. Getty Images