At many zoos, you don't get to see the handlers interacting with the animals. Not so with the alligators at Gatorland in Orlando, Florida, where you can see real, live, people wrestling with alligators!
After welcoming you to the show, the handler will ask for a volunteer from the audience. He will then ask the volunteer to select a gator for him to wrestle. Then the handler will leap over the trenches surrounding the square sand pit, and pull the gator out of the water!
Naturally, the handler will respect the mouth, as not only do gators have powerful jaws, but their teeth also tend to be on the sharp side. So he'll sit on the ground, and control the gator's head, so it can't twist around and bit off his arm.
While the jaws are very strong, it takes surprising little strength to hold them shut. Shut is a good way to keep an alligator's mouth. But then, it's also a good rule for people, as we often say things without thinking, and those ill-chosen words can sometimes injure others as seriously as a gator's jaws.
Handlers at Gatorland take the time to build strong relationships with the animals in their charge. This keeps them in tune with their gator's moods, behavior, and capabilities. This relationship, based on trust and mutual respect, allows them to perform physical feats with their animals as practiced, graceful, and awe-inspiring as those of trapeze artists or ballet dancers.
But then, you reap what you sow in this life, don't you?