The alligator, who was born without its top jaw, got taken in by Gatorland sanctuary in Kissimmee, Florida.
Pilot rescued from alligator-infested waters in Florida
A Florida alligator born with only half its jaw has gotten a new lease on life after it was taken in by a kind woman running a sanctuary in the touristy town of Kissimmee.
The critter — dubbed “Jawlene” by its new handler — couldn’t chew its food correctly for what are perhaps obvious reasons, having been born without the top part of its jaw.
As a result, Jawline was emaciated and unable to be integrated into proper alligator society.
A viral YouTube video caught Jawlene in the act in nearby Sanford — and Savannah Boan, the ambassador for Gatorland Global, couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor thing, and decided to take her in.
And as she told Fox Orlando, Jawlene is thriving in her new environment — and has even gone so far as to be finicky in her dietary preferences.
“We offered her shrimp, she wasn’t interested in that,” Boan said. “We offered her pork. Pork, she seems to like a lot. Chicken, she seems to like a lot. She did not like scallops.”
Boan also said that Jawlene isn’t able to make other gator friends quite yet — but she’s starting to put on some weight, having put on two pounds since she first arrived.
“She’s doing great, and she’s thriving,” Boan said. “And just because she doesn’t have that top jaw doesn’t mean that she’s not going to live a really happy, healthy life here at Gatorland.”
Jawlene, too, also has a case of the worms — which is common for gators in the wild — and Boan said she won’t be put in with the rest of the alligators until the worms have been treated to avoid infecting the other critters.
But Boan also said that even once Jawlene gets integrated into the rest of pod, she shouldn’t expect to make friends very easily.
“Alligators aren’t normally social creatures,” Boan said. “They are here at Gatorland, and we don’t know how she’ll do with that, but we’ll put her in with some really small alligators, and that way she doesn’t have to worry about getting hurt.”