Jesse Mckelvey was 35 miles east of Tampa with his girlfriend Abby when he captured five videos of the exciting moment a hungry mob of carcass-eating vultures got into a standoff with an alligator over a dead turtle sitting on the shoreline of a marsh.
Jesse shared the video on social media showing the vultures taking turns eating this massive dead turtle as the alligator spots what’s going on from the middle of the marsh.
The gator slowly swims over to the turtle and vultures and as he gets closer, the vultures start to back off from the carcass.
The gator stands over the dead turtle and looks at the birds as if he is letting them know that if they get too close, he will eat them.
“As we watched, the gator crossed to the other body of water on the opposite side of the trail and began swimming towards the group of vultures,” Jesse said on Facebook.“He immediately went for the soft shell (turtle) and stared them in the eyes as he took the dead soft shell into his mouth.”
The 12 to 13-foot alligator tried several times to fit the large shell in its mouth but the carcass was just too big and he was having trouble with it.
The gator was eventually able to place the turtle in the right spot in its jaws so that he could crunch down on it and finally begin cracking the shell open.
In one of the five videos that he took, you can see the gator thrashing its head around and slamming the turtle onto the ground in an attempt to rip it open.
“He swallows a piece and just stares the vultures down,” Jesse said. “I was so shocked to finally catch this on film. I’ve seen it happen at the reserve multiple times, but never got it on film. It was pure awesomeness.”
Jesse said the incident took place on February 20 on the 1,267-acre Circle B Bar Reserve near Lakeland.
The total time of the standoff between the gator and the birds lasted about 20 minutes, including the time spent when the gator was looking for parts of the turtle that it lost in the water.