According to a news release, researchers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources were researching North Atlantic right whales when they came across a Georgia alligator.
Observers Monica Zani and Heather Foley first thought it was a partially submerged tire or a dead alligator carcass when they saw the animal was still alive and able to swim.
Georgia wildlife officials Christina Summers and Brad Winn suggested that heavy rains that washed marsh wrack and other debris from the mouth of the Altamaha River may be the cause. The report said that the crew found a rip-line of marsh wrack, accumulated dead march grass, pollen and other items shortly after seeing the alligator.
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