This story was first published on August 7, 2006
This long circulated message features photographs that show a very large alligator swimming with a fully grown deer in its mouth.
The photographs have been circulating, along with variants of the message shown below, since 2004. They first began circulating via email but later appeared on social media websites as well.
According to this version of the message, the photographs were taken from the KTBS helicopter over Lake Conroe, Texas. Other versions of the message use alternative locations, including Lake George (Florida), Cross Lake (Louisiana) and Lake Murray (South Carolina).
The photographs are genuine. However, they were not taken over Lake Conroe or any of the other locations mentioned. Nor were they taken from a news helicopter. In fact, the photographs were taken by Terri Jenkins, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a wildlife refuge near Savannah, Georgia . According to information in a 2004 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Press Release:
The photographs of this deer-eating alligator were taken from the air by Terri Jenkins, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service District Fire Management Officer. She was preparing to ignite a prescribed fire at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, about 40 miles south of Savannah, Georgia, on March 4, 2004.
Jenkins took the photographs from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helicopter used for igniting controlled fires. She estimates that the alligator was at least 12 or 13 feet long.
This picture was taken by a KTBS helicopter flying over Lake Conroe !
(For those of you who are not local, Lake Conroe is near Conroe, TX .)
That has to be a HUGE gator to have a whole deer in its mouth!
Are you ready to go skiing on Lake Conroe ?!
If you ski at the west end of the lake — try not to fall.
Photos by Terri Jenkins, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Alternative versions of the message: