An enormous, 13-foot (4-metre) long alligator weighing about 700 pounds (300 Kg) was recently found in an irrigation ditch near Lake Blackshear in the US state of Georgia, according to the state's Department of Natural Resources.
"It's a testament to Georgia's alligator-management programme that alligators can grow to this size", Melissa Cummings, a department spokeswoman said in an interview, adding that "the only way these animals get this large is by avoiding humans".
The alligator's immense size led some social media users to speculate whether a photo posted online by the department was fake. However, Brent Howze, a wildlife biologist seen crouching in the background of the photo, said otherwise.
"Apparently a lot of people think it's fake, but I can assure you that it is not", he said in an interview. "I'm the one in the picture, and you can probably tell that I didn't get too close to it".
"It took a while to get it out of that ditch. It was bigger than we originally anticipated, and we had to use heavy equipment to move it", Howze said.
Cummings added that, according to Howze's estimation, the animal spent almost a week in the ditch, highly unusual behaviour for the species.
This could possibly be explained by the alligator's poor health. After the animal was lifted from the ditch, the team found what appeared to be old gunshot wounds on its body.
The department noted that they ultimately had to euthanize the giant gator.