“We are so grateful to have known him, for his contribution to science and the further understanding and preservation of his species,” the statement said.
Joe was likely the “dominant male” in the swamp for many decades, CNN reported, citing a statement from the lab last year. “However, we suspect that his old age and poor vision hinder his ability to compete with younger alligators,” the statement said.
The animal’s exact age was uncertain, but if born at the end of WWII, Joe would have been at least 76 years.
“Alligators can live to be approximately 80 years old though so it is possible he was close to that!” the lab said in the Facebook statement, adding that the animal “was a very old alligator as he had scar tissue over both eyes and his scutes were worn almost smooth.”