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14-foot-plus alligator breaks Florida state record

November 2, 2010 | 10:27 am

Gator A male alligator measuring more than 14 feet has broken the Florida state record for length.

Orlando resident Tres Ammerman, who traps alligators as a hobby, pulled the 14-foot, 3 1/2-inch behemoth out of Brevard County's Lake Washington on Sunday while out with his nephew and another hunter.

"I knew he was a giant gator when we saw his head," Ammerman told the Orlando Sentinel.

It took more than two hours to catch the alligator and bring it to the boat dock -- the animal was too big to go in the boat, so the men essentially had to tow the reptile in.

Ammerman's wife, Janette, seems used to this sort of thing.

"It's my husband's passion. Every alligator hunting season, it's all go for him."

Still, she recognizes the significance of his catch. "We've got three over-13-foot mounts in the house, but I think this is a once in a lifetime thing -- it's very unlikely to see something this big again."

Arnold Brunell, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission wildlife biologist who inspected the gator trapped by Ammerman, confirmed Monday that the animal broke the state record for length, set in 1997 by a 14-foot, 5/8-inch male alligator caught in Lake Monroe in Seminole County.

However, at 654 pounds, Ammerman's gator isn't the heaviest male ever caught. That distinction still belongs to a 1,043-pounder caught in 1989.

Asked what the plan was for the huge alligator, Janette Ammerman said that "we haven't decided what we're going to do with him yet. We'll probably sell him, but my husband is going to keep his options open."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Tres Ammerman and the 14-foot 3 1/2-inch alligator he caught Sunday. Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission