The alligator is seen in the video munching on what the uploader said was the drone’s battery, when white smoke begins to cover it. Towards the end of the video, the alligator is seen struggling to swallow the drone.
“Oh my God, he’s eating it!” a woman can be heard saying in the video.
“George, no! Don’t eat that!” It’s unclear if the alligator was named George.
The viral video, shared by a user whose handle is @devhlanger, was initially split into two parts, one of which was shared on 22 August and the other on Monday. When the second part of the video went viral with more than four million views, the user combined both parts into one.
It’s unclear what happened to the alligator. The TikToker, in the comments section of one of the videos, claimed it was fine and “still looked hungry after.”
The incident has sparked a debate on whether drones should be allowed in natural habitats, as they have been known to disturb animals.
In this particular case, some viewers claimed the incident occurred at the Everglades National Park, which has an anti-drone policy. The TikToker, however, said the incident was filmed outside the park.
Feedback from viewers was largely critical. Some claimed to have reported the TikToker to the local authorities, according to a Newsweek report.
Defending herself, the TikToker said the incident was “accidental.”
“This is outside a national park … this is on a tour … I’m clearly filming the drone x flying the drone… [it was] accidental… direct your anger towards alligator farms,” she said in the comments section of the second part of the video.
According to the US National Park Service (NPS), there is a blanket ban on using drones inside national parks since June 2014, which covers 417 parks, 23 trails, and 60 rivers that the NPS manages.
“Due to serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft can have for safety of visitors, staff, and wildlife, they have been restricted in all but a few parks,” said the NPS’s website.
The use of drones results in noise and nuisance complaints from park visitors, park visitor safety concerns and, in one documented incident, the harassment of park wildlife, it said.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies