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NY Post
New York Post
30 Sep 2023

NextImg:Florida gator missing upper jaw gets fitting name inspired by hit song

A Florida alligator who went viral for missing most of her upper jaw got a fitting country-song inspired name.

The critter was given the moniker “Jawlene,” after the Dolly Parton song “Jolene,” after a public call on social media.

The animal was discovered earlier this month in Seminole County and taken in by Gatorland, a theme park and wildlife preserve in Orlando.

The park asked for help online in naming the reptile, a 3-to-4 year old female that weighs about 18 pounds.

In a video Gatorland posted to Facebook, its CEO Mark McHugh announced why they chose the name based on the hit tune, which is on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“This little gator is an absolute treasure, we are so in love with her, but another American treasure is Dolly Parton,” McHugh said.

“One of the names that kind of rung really clear with us and grew on us was a takeoff on one of Dolly’s famous songs, so we’re going to name this little gator, ‘Jawlene.'”

A Florida alligator missing most of her upper jaw was named “Jawlene” after the Dolly Parton hit “Jolene.”
Facebook/Gatorland Orlando

Park employees are uncertain what caused the animal to lose a portion of its jaw.

“Don’t know exactly what happened. It could’ve been a number of things, could have been another alligator, maybe even a boat propeller because it’s a pretty clean injury that went across, but it sealed over, she’s been eating,” Mike Hileman, a Gatorland director, told News 6.

“This isn’t the first type of alligator we have taken in with this type of injury,” he continued.

Gatorland CEO Mark McHugh stands next to a female park staffer who is holding a tiny alligator with no upper jaw.

Gatorland CEO Mark McHugh announced the news of the naming.
Facebook/Gatorland Orlando

“We’ve had several others and we’ve been able to keep those healthy, growing. They’re now years old and I don’t see any other reasons why this one can’t do the same thing.”

The gator went viral after its photos circulated on social media, but Hileman says she is still “very humble” for now.

“I mean, she’s really getting a lot of attention right now. I hope it doesn’t go to her head and become a little diva,” he told WINK News.

“But right now, she’s very good, very down to Earth.”