Legendary Alligator Is Biggest Caught in Mississippi, May Be 100 Years Old

An alligator caught in Mississippi is the biggest recorded in the state and could be 100 years old.

The 10-foot-2-inch alligator was caught on the Pearl River on August 28 by Madison residents and brothers, Jim and Richie Denson, according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

The reptile broke the state record for the longest female alligator.

Biggest alligator
A picture shows the biggest alligator caught in Mississippi. Brothers Richie and Jim Denson, posing with Ricky Flynt (center), caught the 10-foot-2-inch female known as "Yellow 410." Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

Mississippi, where alligator-hunting season begins in August, is home to 32,000 to 38,000 alligators.

Due to the state's abundant alligator population, hunting is legal, as it helps to control the numbers. Those with alligator hunting permits may capture only two alligators that exceed more than 4 feet, and only one may be greater than 7 feet in length.

Jim Denson said in a Facebook post that the huge alligator "broke a heavy fishing rod and [a] snare pole," but they finally managed to lift her aboard their boat.

"My brother (Richie Denson) and I were able to put a local legend in the boat," Denson wrote.

Biggest alligator
A picture shows the biggest alligator caught in Mississippi. "Yellow 410" was captured by Jim and Richie Denson after first being tagged in 2009. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

This is not the first time this alligator was caught. Ricky Flynt, alligator program coordinator at MDWFP, said in a press release that she was first tagged by biologists in 2009 and is known as "Yellow 410."

"We tagged this alligator on June 11, 2009, as part of a research project. At that time, the alligator also measured exactly 10 feet, 2 inches, and was captured within 100 yards of where the Densons killed the record alligator," Flynt said.

While it is not clear how old Yellow 410 was when she was first captured in 2009, she "did not grow even one inch" since then.

"Given that knowledge and what we have learned from tagged alligators in the wild, it is entirely possible that this record alligator could easily be as much as 75 to 100 years old. This is definitely a world-class alligator specimen," Flynt said.

Alligators are tagged in Mississippi for research purposes. This is so, when alligator hunters catch the reptiles, biologists may research the animals' growth rates and other movements.

Not only does the reptile break the state record, but it also ties with the previous world record for longest free-ranging wild female alligator caught in 1984, according to Flynt. This was recently smashed by a specimen measuring 10 feet, 6.75 inches in Florida in 2021.

More than 800 alligators have been tagged in Mississippi since 2007.

"Each recapture provides us with interesting data that no other states are obtaining. I am very proud of what we are learning," Flynt said in a press release.

"This is just another example of the value of hunters and hunting to wildlife biologists and wildlife conservation. Much of what biologists know about many species across the world came from similar mark-recapture projects involving hunter harvest data.

"We have also learned from our research that there are great differences in growth among individual alligators. We have learned that females typically have much slower growth rates (less than 2 inches per year) while males typically grow faster and can grow as much as 8 to 12 inches in one year."

Newsweek has contacted Jim and Richie Denson.