How Do You Wrestle an American Alligator?
If you’ve had the opportunity to see a live alligator show in South Florida, you probably noticed first hand how expertise and know how play a critical role. Alligator wrestling is exciting, but certainly not something that you should attempt on your own on an otherwise boring Saturday afternoon. A sport that’s not for the faint-hearted, mastering alligator capturing techniques takes years of dedication, practice and skill – a rare combination that should be left to the alligator professionals.
However, if you’re curious about the process and interested in learning more about the steps involved in subduing Florida’s most iconic resident, here’s some fun information to get you started. Remember, regardless of how easy it looks, alligator wrestling is dangerous. The good news? There are plenty of fantastic destinations for taking in a live show with the family.
A Little Alligator Wrestling Background
Originally, it was the Native Americans who engaged in alligator wrestling. Not for sport, but rather, as a tried and true hunting technique. Long before Europeans set foot in the Everglades, Native Americans in the Southeast hunted gators for food and trade purposes. Today, alligators in Florida are part of the state’s robust culture and folks associate gators with everything from college football teams (think Florida Gators) to local newspapers (The Independent Florida Alligator).
Alligator wrestling is a popular pastime in the Sunshine State, and witnessing a live show is loads of fun for all ages. Where are the gators? With an estimated 200,000 American alligators, the Florida Everglades is the place to be for everything gator. If you haven’t toured the area by airboat, you simply must. Wildlife exploration in a natural environment is a once in a lifetime experience and a must do for outdoor enthusiasts, thrill seekers and families looking for adventure.
How It’s Done: Steps In Wrestling an Alligator
While every gator handler has a different approach, there are some similarities involved in successfully taking down a powerful reptile like an alligator. They say that technique is far more important than strength. And that’s a good thing, because some Alligators grow as long as 13 feet, weighing in at close to 800 pounds! Nevertheless, whether you’re dealing with a small 5-foot gator or a giant twice your size, there are two primary steps in the process – mounting the back and controlling the jaws.
Secure a Seat on the Gator’s Back - The first step is to mount the gator from behind. Easier said than done, skilled professionals agree that this is also the most dangerous part of the feat. Experts recommend approaching the alligator from the back only, as a side or front attempt will make it more likely that you will get bit. Sometimes, gator handlers will cover the alligator’s head with a towel or piece of clothing. This is done to prevent the gator from seeing, which slows reaction time – a tactic that’s proved invaluable in more than a few cases. Mount the gator by quickly jumping on the animal’s back with outstretched arms, using your hands to push the gator head to the ground, preventing the lower jaw from opening.
Control the Jaws - After successfully mounting the gator, the next step is to control the jaws. Slide your hands down the back of the head, gripping the jaw with both hands – one on the top portion of the jaw and the other securing the bottom jaw line. Interestingly, alligators have extremely weak jaw muscles, meaning that once you’ve secured the jaws shut, holding them closed with one hand is possible. Another less known fact about alligator wrestling is that once you get control of the mouth and raise the animal’s head 90 degrees off the ground, it can no longer fight back. This submission pose creates opportunity for gator handlers to perform tricks and entertain excited guests who have come to watch an invigorating alligator wrestling show.
Everglades Holiday Park In Fort Lauderdale: Best Live Gator Show In South Florida
While there is certainly no shortage of places to visit when the goal is to see alligator wrestling in Florida, there are some destinations that are better than others. As the home of the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue, Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale is South Florida’s premier locale for gator shows and exciting airboat tours through the River of Grass. Someone from the talented “Gator Boys” team performs live at the park daily, and the guys and gals of Animal Planet’s show are happy to put on a complementary presentation for guests who purchase tickets for an airboat tour through the Everglades. Everglades Holiday Park is a family favorite, featuring 60-minute narrated tours, a live animal encounters exhibit and of course, live alligator shows in the world famous “Gator Pit”.
Interested in learning more about alligator wrestling or airboat tours through the Everglades ecosystem? Please visit us today at www.evergladesholidaypark.comto book tickets online. This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog, on .