Wayward Coastal Gator Spotted 20 Miles Offshore

GON Staff | April 12, 2010

Researchers conducting North Atlantic right whale work spotted a 5-foot alligator March 9 about 20 miles offshore from the mouth of the Altamaha River. At first, whale observers thought the animal was debris. After getting closer, they realized the gator was very much alive. The researchers snapped a few photos and moved on because they were 20 miles offshore in an inflatable boat.

Not long after the encounter, the crew came across a rip-line of debris, most likely at the edge of a freshwater plume coming from the Altamaha after recent rains. It is likely the gator swam into the Altamaha after a day of sunning and was swept to sea by unseasonably cold water after recent heavy rains. Too chilled to fight the waters that carried it, the alligator ended up farther out to sea than normal.

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