SARASOTA, Fla. -- Tampering and harming wildlife can land you jail.

Law enforcement in Manatee and Sarasota counties are looking for whoever killed two alligators and damaged a turtle's nest.

In both cases, the reason may have been the same -- something to eat.

Manatee deputies found the carcasses of two adult-size alligators in a retention pond at The Fountains, a condominium community.

Deputies are describing it as a "massacre" and believe the gators were killed somewhere else and dumped at the pond off 57th Street West.

Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow said, "We have a deputy who works with FWC and works a lot with animal cases. He took a look at the photos and said it looks like they were doing it for the meat. He also said someone knew what they were doing."

The sheriff's office asking anyone with information on this case to give them a call.

Harming an alligator is a third-degree felony.

Down in South Sarasota County in Nokomis, two volunteers with More Aquarium's nighttime turtle-tagging team recently spotted three people tampering with a nest.

The nest belongs to a loggerhead turtle like the ones at Mote Aquarium.

As the team approached the turtle's nest last Thursday morning, the suspected poachers covered up the nest and took off, but they left one egg broken.

Scientists say there's no telling how many eggs they took.

Hatchlings break free from the eggshell after two months.

Mote scientists say the damaged nest is just two weeks old and any tampering could endanger all the eggs from hatching.

“It’s heartbreaking. Those eggs are no longer viable and the rest of the nest is definitely in danger,” said Melissa Bernhard, senior scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory. “The embryo attaches inside the egg. If it rotates, it detaches the embryo, suffocating the embryo.”

It's possible the poachers wanted the eggs to eat, because they're a delicacy in some cultures.

Anyone with information on this case or witness any turtle nest abuse to call the FWC wildlife alert hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC or call the sheriff's office.

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