May 21,2008 00:00
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Hungry alligators will eat almost anything, from deer to dolls and tennis balls to other alligators, Florida wildlife officials say.
Recently, a G.I. Joe action figure and a plastic toy turtle were found stuck in the intestines of a 9-foot alligator that died in the Florida Keys, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.
Terry Parlier, who traps nuisance alligators in Orange County, Fla., said that bad diet can cause problems in other ways. He cited the case of one alligator who lived in a lake near a tennis court and ate a lot of tennis balls.
"He couldn't swim under the water because he was so buoyant," Parlier said to the Sentinel.
Alligators, who slow down as temperatures drop in the winter, perk up in the spring, which is also their mating season. They are hungry and will eat almost anything they can get their jaws around.
"They basically eat anything that's floating on top of the water," Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told the newspaper. "If they see something, they just think it's food. I call them a water buzzard."
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