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Friday, January 23, 2015

Gator-Sitting at Gatorland

You've heard of babysitting, housesitting, and even dog sitting, right? There's a sport that's growing in popularity in Orlando, Florida. It's called Gator-Sitting, and you can try your hand at it at Gatorland.

After the handlers tape up the alligator's mouth, they direct you to approach the alligator cautiously. When they feel the animal is comfortable with you, they direct you to sit on the alligator. Of course, you need to ease yourself down, as you don't want to startle the gator. At least, not if you want it to remain calm, and you want to get your photograph taken with the alligator. 

While the handlers try to keep out of the photograph, they need to remain close. No matter how well trained, alligators are still wild animals, and can react violently to the presence of humans. 

Especially if they're hungry.

This young lady had not yet placed her hands on the gator's mouth when it swung its head unexpectedly. The handler shouted for her to remove her hands, and she whipped them immediately to her side. It's a good thing she had fast reflexes. Duct tape may be strong, but an alligator's jaws are stronger.

Standing beyond the fencing, we heard novice gator-sitters tell the handlers that they came from all over the world, including countries in Europe and South America. So it seems that this growing sport is prompting more and more people to visit Orlando, Florida.

This doesn't mean that everyone is enthusiastic about trying their hands at gator-sitting. This young girl only sat on the gator after a good deal of encouragement from her parents, and kept her hands firmly to herself. Thankfully, she emerged unharmed from her first attempt at gator-sitting.

Personally, I can't blame her for not smiling. 

While I like alligators and crocodiles, I have no great desire to get close to them. Well, except for this large fellow here. He seemed so cheerful and welcoming that I felt comfortable sitting on him, even without his jaws being taped. Still, I didn't linger on his back. After all, I didn't know what he was smiling about.

Dragon Dave

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