Gator missing top jaw named after Dolly Parton song

Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 4:11 PM EDT
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SANFORD, Fla. (Gray News) – A small alligator that recently became an internet sensation for missing its top jaw officially has a name.

After receiving dozens of suggestions, members of Gatorland have named her Jawlene as a spinoff from one of Dolly Parton’s songs.

“This gator is an absolute treasure,” Gatorland President and CEO Mark McHugh said in a Facebook post. “But another American treasure is Dolly Parton. Man, we love Dolly so much. One of the names that kind of run really clear with us and grew on us was a takeoff of one of Dolly’s famous songs.”

Jawlene has a private bungalow at Gatorland to keep her isolated from the other animals while she adjusts to her new environment.

McHugh said she ate two mice on her own Wednesday and is slowly starting to gain some weight.

The folks at Gatorland believe her snout was probably sliced off by a boat propeller and had probably been living off things like frogs and snails.

McHugh said they plan to hold off on the potential of a prosthetic jaw for now so she can get comfortable with her living arrangements.

“We don’t want to stress her out,” he said.