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Kansas fisherman lands 4ft alligator gar


It’s a real big fish story: a Kansas fisherman threw a line into the water and caught a prehistoric predatory fish that dates back almost 100 million years.

Danny “Butch” Smith II of Oswego, Kansas, who landed the fish, a 4ft 6in alligator gar, weighing 39.5 pounds, knew he had caught something unusual. His fishing buddy identified the fish and said, “They’re not supposed to be here (in Kansas),” Smith said.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks officials have confirmed the identification and are investigating how the fish, called a “living fossil,” entered the Neosho River in southeastern Kansas, at the east of the town of Parsons.

They have muzzles that resemble American alligators, razor-sharp teeth and can grow to over 10 feet long and weigh up to 350 pounds, according to While in prehistoric times the predecessors of the fish may have lived in Iowa or Kansas, modern alligators are found in the lower Mississippi Valley from Arkansas and Oklahoma to Florida, in Texas and parts of Mexico, according to the site. Not harmful to humans, alligators feed on other fish, crabs, turtles, birds and small mammals.

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Smith knew he caught something big when he was fishing last month. “I thought I had a pretty decent flathead,” he told USA TODAY. “But he fought and fought, very quickly he came out plum from the water. The shape of his head really shocked me.”

Soon the fish turned around and came over to Smith’s boat and he pulled him inside. But once the big fish was in the boat, “he tore the boat apart. I was shocked at that,” Smith said.


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