Mar 18, 2010

Alligator Spear

My ancestors tell of young Gar who fell in love with grumpy Alligator. Gar was mischievous and never heeded her parents counsel. They forbade her from seeing Alligator anymore, but she snuck away one night into the bayou and ran away with Alligator. They were soon wed and had children. But they were mutant children.

That's a cautionary tale I've cooked up for my daughters.

The alligator gar has the distinction of being not only the world's largest gar, but also North America's largest exclusively freshwater fish. Adults measure between 8 - 10 feet and weigh at least 200 lbs. The largest alligator gar caught bowfishing was 365 lbs.

I love it when animals are aptly named. Alligator? That's obvious, especially in the second photo. Gar? That's Old English for 'spear.' So what you've got in this fish is a massive alligator spear. Thankfully, they are generally passive, non-aggressive, and solitary ambush hunters. The lower Mississippi River Valley and the Gulf Region would be different places if they were otherwise.

Thanks for the gar, Jelo.



15 comments:

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

wow... i never even knew they existed before. that's why i love reading this blog!

Jelo said...

Fear is a 12 foot long Alligator Gar with a grudge for air breahters.

Anonymous said...

They were featured on this documentary series called "River Monsters" hosted by Jeremy Wade. They are so cool looking!

thanh n said...

This is so awesome, it's a fish too? That's so ridiculous, it really does look like an alligator.

Anonymous said...

Yep, these guys like to munch on good sized ducks and such. Poor ducks I bet then never even hear the "Jaws" theme before it happens.

While not as inherently ugly as snakeheads or their ilk these are truly an EPIC fishie!

- Arachnophile

Danielle said...

I actually gasped out loud when I saw that bottom picture.

Alan said...

We have one of these at the aquarium at Bristol Zoo - only about 1.8m at the moment...

A. said...

I used to swim in a ship channel with these guys in SW Louisiana all the time as a kid.

The first time I saw a picture (like the ones provided) of a full-grown alligator gar pulled out of said ship channel I called my parents and demanded to know what was wrong with them.

Haris said...

Haha.. Non-Agressive ? Dont think so. These fish are so agressive that they are a living weapon. Their teeth are as sharp as a sword. And they are 150% deadly.

Anonymous said...

The only reason "A." is alive today is simple. They werent very hungry, and those that were found it easier to eat a duck cat or dog or even a baby gar much easier than a child. you should thank God or Fate or what/who ever you believe in that you are alive.

Anonymous said...

i just saw an alligator gar approx. 36" in a salt water canal in sanibel fla.

Shredder75 said...

Caught a 4.5 foot long alligator gar on the Catawba River yesterday.

AL said...

I ALMOST GOT AMBUSHED BY AN ALLIGATOR GAR IN COZUMEL MEXICO!!!! YES, MEXICO! LUCKILY I SAW IT'S TAIL BEFORE I ENTERED THE SWIM THRU OTHERWISE THAT WOULD'VE BEEN MY A##.

lizzii lizzi liz said...

On the contrary, gar are not aggressive creatures in the water. They only eat what they can swallow whole. I live in the South Padre region on the Gulf and have never seen them in neither the bay nor the gulf, only in the fresh waters around town. They're wild when you catch 'em, of course, what fish isn't? THAT, however, is a very impressive fish. I wouldn't even know what to do with that if it was on the end of my line. What was your method?

Ferris Bueller said...

I have three in home aquariums. They are quite docile. I feed them by hand. With caution of course.