Alligator gar is the largest of the gar species. It can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh more than 300 pounds! The species name spatula is Latin for “spoon”, referring to the creature’s broad snout and have two rows of large teeth on either side of the upper jaw.
Alligator gar can live for many decades. They grow very fast when young, but growth slows with age. In general, for every additional foot the fish grows, its age doubles. A 3-foot gar is typically about 2.5 years old; a 4-foot gar about 5, and a 7-foot trophy catch might be 40 years old! Young fish feed on larval fishes and insects. Adults will eat whatever they can catch, consuming primarily fish, but occasionally taking birds, mammals and other animals. Alligator gar are present in the Gulf coastal plain from the Econfina River in Florida west and south to Veracruz, Mexico.