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Alligator missing its entire top jaw leaves social media users with one crucial question

Alligator missing its entire top jaw leaves social media users with one crucial question

The unfortunate alligator was given a fitting name after being rescued and taken to Gatorland in Florida

Everyone has the same question after seeing shocking images of an alligator which is missing its entire upper jaw.

The aptly named Gatorland is a park near Orlando, Florida, which works to house and look after alligators which have been rescued, whether from being kept as pets or after being injured.

And in the case of one unlucky alligator, the injury would likely mean that she would not be able to survive long in the wild, so needs looking after.

That's because the small alligator has her entire top jaw missing, leaving her mouth completely exposed.

The alligator is missing her entire upper jaw (Facebook/Gatorland Orlando)
The alligator is missing her entire upper jaw (Facebook/Gatorland Orlando)

Anyone who is at all familiar with the lives of alligators will know that the predators are heavily reliant on their jaw to be able to hunt and feed.

The terrifying creatures use their enormously powerful bite to grasp their prey and drag it underwater before tearing chunks off it, and not having a top jaw makes that a lot harder.

After seeing images of the alligator, everyone had the same question: "How does it even eat."

Well, Gatorland caretaker Savannah Boan told Tampa Bay Times: "We put something on her tongue and she puts her bottom jaw up really high and it kind of slides back."

Boan reckons when the gator was in the wild, she 'hunkered down in the shallows' and ate small fish this way. She added: "She could get a little minnow or something like that."

When naming the creator, Gatorland came up with a reference to US icon Dolly Parton, dubbing her Jawlene.

Jawlene was caught in mid-September according to a report from CBS 12 News.

A picture of Jawlene was posted on social media by Katrina Shadix, who wrote: “Is anyone in the area that can HELP this poor alligator?”

Jawlene the alligator. (Instagram / savannahboan)
Jawlene the alligator. (Instagram / savannahboan)

Wildlife rehabilitator Kim Titterington later described the gator's state to People as 'very shocking'.

Titterington said: “From the image I was provided, the alligator appears to have good body weight, and the injury healed over, but the continued survivability in the wild is slim.

“It could be from another alligator but the clean cut also suggests this animal was caught in a hunting snare.”

Apparently this kind of injury isn't even that unusual, as Boan said 'lots of alligators and crocodiles lose their top jaws in battles' with other animals.

In an update posted to Gatorland's Facebook page back in March, the park reported Jawlene is 'gaining weight, in great health and is living the sweet life in her new home'.

They added: "Jawlene is a testament to the strength and resilience of the American Alligator. She is a real American treasure, just like Dolly Parton who sings the song that was the inspiration for Jawlene’s name."

Featured Image Credit: savannahboan/Instagram

Topics: News, Animals, US News