Alligator missing upper jaw finds new home at Gatorland

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 2:47 PM CDT

SANFORD, Fla. (WESH) – A small alligator recently became an internet sensation after pictures emerged that showed it was missing its top jaw.

Now, the gator has a new home after it was rescued in Sanford, Florida on Friday. The half-snout alligator was caught by a trapper on Friday and is now in its forever home – Gatorland.

“We’ve moved her into her own little bungalow,” park director Mike Hileman explained.

Earlier this month the alligator was spotted near a lake in Sanford.

A park regular took a picture and posted it on Facebook. People felt compassion for the gator with its top jaw sliced off below the eyes.

“She’s pretty calm,” Hileman said. “Alligators have personalities, kind of like people. Some days it’s a good day. Some days it’s a bad day.”

The folks at Gatorland have figured out the gator is a girl, and her snout was probably sliced off by a boat propellor. They believe she has likely been living off things like frogs and snails.

“That wound that she has, has healed over. So, she has been able to feed herself without a top jaw for some time now. That’s impressive,” Hileman said.

The crews at Gatorland said she needs to gain weight and plan to feed her with bite-size pieces of chicken, fish and steak that she can throw back into her throat.

Gatorland wants the public to help name her. Some of the most notable suggestions so far have been Jaws, Flap Jack and Gum Drop, but the most heartfelt is the name Hope.