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Remains of 11-foot alligator recovered from Georgia swamp are reassembled


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An 11-foot alligator’s remains have been recovered by a Georgia research center that suspected the reptile’s death after his GPS tracker stopped moving.

The University of Georgia Coastal Ecology Lab in Brunswick, Georgia, confirmed the 11-foot alligator named Doc died in a swamp in the state’s southern corner, according to a Facebook post the research facility shared Feb. 6.

Doc was reportedly found 14½ miles into the Okefenokee Swamp by two workers at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, a nature reserve that encompasses about 402,000 acres.

The UGA Coastal Ecology Lab provided the refuge the coordinates of Doc’s last known location, which was registered by his satellite tag.

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His last received GPS signal was delivered in late August and showed he had moved to "a secluded part of the refuge," according to the UGA Coastal Ecology Lab’s Facebook post. 

Researchers at the UGA Coastal Ecology Lab reportedly couldn’t reach Doc’s last known location because it was so far into the swamp, which led the group to request assistance from the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

"The last time we saw Doc was back in late June of 2022, and he was very skinny," the UGA Coastal Ecology Lab wrote. "We suspected Doc was an older alligator based on the sheer number of injuries he had. But when we saw how much weight he had lost in just over a year, we realized he was even older than we initially thought."

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The UGA Coastal Ecology Lab wasn’t able to determine Doc’s age, but the research center reported that he was likely decades old.

Past research has shown alligators can live between 60 to 70 years and could possibly live even longer than that, according to the UGA Coastal Ecology Lab.

About 60% of Doc’s skeleton was recovered from the swamp, including his skull, and what was found was reassembled by the UGA Coastal Ecology Lab. 

"If you think the skeleton looks a bit short of 11ft, that's because even with all the bones we recovered we are still missing nearly 3ft of his spine as well as many of the small intricate bones in the feet," the lab wrote on Facebook.

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The UGA Coastal Ecology Lab reported that Doc was measured at 11 feet and "weighed nearly 400 pounds" when the research facility first found him at Mud Lake in April 2021.

Researchers with the UGA Coastal Ecology Lab tagged Doc to incorporate him in the facility’s satellite tag study.

"We are saddened by Doc's passing, but are thankful for the data he provided and educational value his skeleton will provide," the UGA Coastal Ecology Lab said.

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