Biggest Alligator In The World
You might be surprised how common it is to find alligators throughout the United States. Lurking around swamps and lakes is how they like to operate, however, the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) can be pretty stealthy. For this reason, they're able to hunt small fish, birds, and mammals while going unseen.
Throughout history, humans have been lucky enough to capture some of these gigantic wild reptiles. Today, we're going to explore some of the largest alligators ever caught.
Average Alligator Size
The average adult American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) will grow to be around 13-14 feet in length. Female American Alligators are a bit smaller, averaging at 8.5 feet.
The only other alligator species on the planet, the Chinese Alligator (Alligator sinensis), reaches 7 feet in length on average. However, some Chinese Alligator specimens have grown to be approximately 15-16 feet in length.
Do note, the American Alligator and Chinese Alligator are different from the Saltwater Crocodile in that they are much larger and are only found in freshwater.
What's The Difference Between an Alligator and a Crocodile?
The alligator is part of the genus alligator in the Alligatoriade family, similar to the crocodilian. However, while the crocodilian species and alligator species share many similar characteristics, there are some notable differences.
For starters, the shape of the head is the most significant difference between the crocodile species and alligator species. The crocodile has a long V-shaped head, while alligators have a U-shaped head with a round snout.
Alligators have a wide upper jaw compared to their more narrow lower jaw, and for this reason, their lower jaws are partially concealed. While on the other hand, the upper and lower jaws of crocodiles are almost the same width.
So, when it comes to alligator vs crocodile size: who wins? Compared to American Alligators, saltwater crocodiles are larger. And our Largest Crocodile Ever Recorded page can show you just how big they get!
Biggest Alligator Ever Caught
The Largest Alligator - The Stokes Alligator - 15'9"
The largest verified American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) ever caught was the Stokes Alligator. After many years of hunting boars and deer, Mandy Stokes went out on her very first alligator hunting trip, where she caught this record-breaking giant.
It was named the Stokes Alligator after Mandy, who fought for more than an hour-and-a-half before she was able to capture this half-ton giant alligator.
The family latched the Stokes alligator to the boat's hull because they were not able to get it onto their 17 foot vessel.
The Stokes Alligator was so massive that it broke the winch often used by the locals to weigh their alligators. Today, you can go and see the Stokes alligator on display at the Millers Ferry Powerhouse in Camden, Alabama.
The Second Largest Alligator - Blake Godwin's Alligator - 15'
This massive American alligator was found in an Okeechobee cattle pond.
It was caught by Lee Lightsey after the remains of many missing cattle were found in the water.
This massive American alligator was so giant that Lee Lightsey had to use a farm tractor to pull it out of the water after he shot it.
Blake Godwin, who helped Lee catch it, was shocked after measuring it, saying he had a hard time believing that something this large could be found in the wild.
The Third Largest Alligator - Robert Ammerman's Alligator - 14'3"
Robert "Tres" Ammerman caught this massive alligator on the last day of the 2017 hunting season.
The moment he saw this gigantic gator poke his head out of the water, Ammerman knew that he'd stumbled across a huge one.
For over 45 minutes, the angry gator towed Ammerman's boat around the lake before he was able to tow it to shore.
The Fourth Largest Alligator - Big Tex - 13'8"
Big Tex, an enormous alligator that was said to have no fear of humans, was wrangled in after locals feared he was wreaking havoc at the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge.
After catching this massive American Alligator, the wildlife refuge officials concluded that this was the largest alligator ever caught in Texas history.
Once Bix Tex was removed from the wildlife sanctuary, he was given a home at Gator County, an adventure park and alligator rescue facility.
Today, Big Tex can be found alongside the 13'4" Big Al, who weighs 1,000 pounds.
The Fifth Largest Alligator - Mike Cottingham's Gator - 13'3"
After catching this alligator while with his private hunting club, Mike Cottingham immediately recognized that it was a seriously large specimen.
The head of this massive gator weighed next to 300 pounds alone! In fact, the gator's head was so heavy that it took five guys to lift it into his boat!
After examining the body, a local herpetologist estimated this American alligator to be next to 36 years old.
The Sixth Largest Alligator - Tom Grant's Alligator - 13'1.5"
On Tom Grant's last gator hunt, he caught an alligator that was 12'9" in length.
After fighting with this angry gator for more than an hour, Tom Grant and his buddies were able to wrestle it to shore.
With a belly girth of 65", the Tom Grant's alligator was one of the largest American alligators to have ever been caught in the Mississippi delta area.
Largest Alligator Ever Recorded
Though it was never caught, the largest alligator ever to have been found and recorded was in 1890 in Marsh Island, Louisiana. This Marsh Island alligator, who measured 19.2 feet and weighed in at 2,000 pounds, was killed in Vermilion Bay in Southern Louisiana.
However, because it was found in the late 19th century, many experts say that its size is hard to verify.
Even beyond the Marsh Island Louisiana Alligator, there have been many other unconfirmed reports of American Alligators over 20 feet in length. Many of these American Alligators came from various parts of the United States, though the information has not been credible enough to verify the accuracy of these reported sizes.
In 2006, a photo of an American Alligator that allegedly measured 23 feet in length became an Internet phenomenon. But soon after, the photo that caused the craze was discovered to be a photo of a 13 foot alligator that was shot down in West Columbia, Texas, that same year.
More Facts About American Alligators