I don't know that I have ever looked at an alligator and thought "Awwwww!" until now. Usually, their tough exterior and creepy crawly bitey behavior make me want to stay far away. I guess I watched too many episodes of that old TLC show Swamp People, where folks hunted for big ole gators. It terrified me but I couldn't look away!

Well, as soon as I saw this little gal my heart was touched because it seemed like she had really been through the ringer. An alligator that was missing its top jaw was discovered wandering aimlessly around Sanford, Florida. After being rescued by wildlife experts, she was taken to Gatorland where she was thoroughly examined and given a relatively clean bill of health despite her unfortunate missing part.

Officials say that her wounds are consistent with getting caught in a snare trap. It seems as though it swiped her top jaw clean off. They also think she had been living this way in the wild for at least 6 months until she was found. What a little fighter!

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She was malnourished, but after spending some time rehabilitating at Gatorland, she is doing pretty well considering. She has eaten some mice, or I guess swallowed some mice, since she can't really chew. They've also noticed that since gators usually breathe through their nostrils, which she doesn't have, this girl breathes through a hole in the back of her throat which you can actually see.

Gatorland shared her story with their parkgoers and asked for their help in naming the newly rescued lady. The winning name just so happened to be inspired by a favorite classic country song. Dolly Parton's Jolene. Or I guess I should say "Jaw-lene." and look! I don't think I have to worry about her stealing my man, but she has stolen all of our hearts.

Source: USA Today and CNN Travel


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