Hunters in Alabama snared an alligator weighing nearly half a tonne, the largest ever caught in a legal hunt in the state, conservation officials say.
The alligator, caught with a snare hook in a southern Alabama state park , was so heavy it required a backhoe to hoist it onto a scale, said Mike Sievering, a state wildlife biologist who supervised the hunt.
"He was an eyeful, I'll say that," Sievering said.
The monster alligator was caught in the Alabama River by Mandy Stokes (right), along with her husband John Stokes, at her right, and her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins (left) and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14. Photo: AP.
The alligator, which weighed 453kg and measured 4.5m long, was nearly 50kg heavier than the previous state record holder, he said.
Alabama began allowing alligator hunts in 2011, responding in part to the reptiles showing up unbidden in fish farm ponds, Sievering said.
A large alligator weighing nearly half a tonne, measuring 4.5 metres long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama. Photo: AP.
In Sievering's three-county area, up to 50 alligators are legally hunted over two weekends each summer by hook and line and underwater bow and arrow.
The American alligator was listed as endangered by the United States in 1967 after its ranks were diminished by habitat loss and excessive hunting.
But the species was removed from the list 20 years later and now numbers more than a million in the southeastern United States, according to the National Parks Conservation Association.