In this file photo, Joe Maffo, from left, owner of Critter Management and Mark Carinus sit on the 13-foot alligator they removed from the lake at Jarvis Creek Park on Hilton Head Island as Donnie Murphy wraps tape to keep the alligator's mouth closed.(Photo: Photo by Holly Pratt)
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Judging by the contents of its stomach, the 13-foot alligator snatched Monday from Jarvis Creek Park on Hilton Head Island after it snapped up a soccer ball apparently liked to eat other kinds of sports equipment, too.
Trappers who opened the gator's stomach found 53 fishing lures, a half-pound of lead sinkers, two baseballs, one tennis ball and two other balls that were unidentifiable because they had been partially digested.
They also found a 4-foot gator.
That discovery, plus other meals that included two turtles, a beer can and 48 rocks suggest the 13-foot gator ate just about anything, said Mark Carinus, who assists Critter Management with trapping and harvesting nuisance gators.
"People don't understand that this gator could not be relocated," Carinus said. "It would eat any smaller gator. It snapped up the soccer ball at the water's edge and it could easily snatch a dog or a small child."
It's not unusual for the wranglers at Critter Management to find a gator digesting in a larger one's stomach, Carinus said. They also frequently find gators covered in teeth marks from territorial battles.
Staff reporter Allison Stice