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Otter attacks and eats alligator: Photos capture deadly assault

Quick: An otter and an alligator fight. Which animal wins? If you're like most people, you'd choose the quick and deadly reptile with the powerful jaws. However, at least in this one instance, as was reported by Huffington Post March 5, not only did the otter attack the alligator, the mammal had the tough-skinned lizard for dinner as well. And if that story is a bit tough to swallow, there are photos that chronicle the furry aggressor in the act.

No, it hasn't been a very good week for big lizards, as was evidenced by photos of a crocodile in Australia getting crushed in the coils of a water python, then, adding injury to death, the giant snake swallowed the crocodile whole. Still, the crocodile's death did actually occur this week. The alligator died back in 2011. (The photos were just posted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Facebook page this week.) So, technically, it hasn't been a good week for big lizards in photography.

But back to the story at hand...

The otter couldn't quite accomplish the same feat as the python (i.e., it could not swallow the gator in one unhinged jaw maneuver), but still, it did manage to latch on to the alligator, as photos attest, riding the reptile until it died. The otter dragged the gator out of the water and onto a bank, where it proceeded to eat its victim in smaller amounts.

The scene of the animal-on-animal assault: Florida's Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. The witness: Photographer Geoff Walsh.

Captions accompanying the photos explained that the furry little mammals aren't as timid as they seem. They tend to be apex predators, having no natural enemies. It's a lesson learned the hard way by the alligator.

And yet it is difficult to feel sympathy for the reptiles. Crocodiles alone are responsible for the deaths of as many as 2,500 people every year, according to a 2010 Pravda report, making them 168 times more dangerous than sharks.

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