Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gator Glen

My brother has a rather unusual and interesting job. He's a licensed trapper for nuisance alligators. The other day he helped trap two. One was 8 ft. long, discovered in a sewer drain by city workers. The other was a 10 ft. long gator in a canal. If you go here you can see the news report and video. Be sure to watch the second video, it's the coolest! He's the guy sitting on the gator's back at the end.

You may notice the mouth is taped shut. Guess who taped it? He doesn't kill the gators unless they have killed a person - this one is headed for a gator farm in Lake Placid. He used a boom box playing baby gator sounds to attract the gator in question, then uses a loop to catch it, or sometimes a gaffe gun of some sort. Once he wrestles the madly fighting alligator to shore (they roll over and over, once breaking his finger in the process!), he has to sit on its back and tape its mouth shut. Then he can load it on the truck.

It's not that surprising that he would end up doing something like this. His first camping trip was when he was one month old, as you can see above. My sister and I are 9 and 12 in the picture. We hiked, swam, fished, canoed and camped and he was always included. I remember once my step-dad (his dad) asked us if we wanted to see an alligator when we were near a swamp or pond, probably in the Everglades. We said sure, so he began making soft "unh, unh, unh" sounds that he said were the sounds baby alligators make when they are in distress. Then he got a wicked little gleam in his eye and said to my mom, "Hand me the baby! If I dangle his tender little toes in the water, the gators will come right over!" She squealed and held my brother tighter and my step-dad grinned from ear to ear.

His dad taught him everything he needed to know to be an outdoorsman, and he always has been comfortable in the great outdoors. He hunts, both with gun and bow, fishes (and cooks an incredibly delicious fish dinner with his fresh fish, even though he doesn't eat fish himself), canoes, hikes, and camps.

And now he's added gator trapping to his repertoire! Kinda cool, don't ya think?
He wants people to know that what makes an alligator a nuisance is feeding them! I have been swimming, fishing and canoeing with gators, but when they are wild they mostly leave people alone. We had a gator in the pond near us that people wouldn't stop feeding - my son used to go stand on the bank and when the gator headed his way, he'd bean it between the eyes with a rock. That way it didn't know whether it was going to receive food or pain. It's possible he saved a few neighborhood kids that way! If you are concerned about alligators hurting people, or even if you are concerned about the gators themselves, the best thing you can do for them is leave them alone. People are killed by gators all the time, so you could save lives by not feeding them. Not to mention that the gator will have to be destroyed if it eats someone!
Luckily if someone has a problem, they can just give my brother a call!

14 comments:

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This is fascinating.

However, I still have a deep-seated fear of alligators. I don't think it's going to go away.

Cherdecor said...

YIKES! I think that my son would love to know this man. It used to be that when the police needed someone to go pick up a snake someone had let loose, they would call our son. We have now said, "No more snakes!" At one time he had 55 snakes. He is now down to 10 or 12.
They are now in hibernation. I would be glad if they all died. =)

Connie said...

Fun job :) We have gators in our pond in the country...they do not get fed and I try to stay away!
Still freaks me out when I am on the gazebo and I hear a big splash :) probably just a fish or turtle.

Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

What a cool brother you have! He's doing a very important work. I grew up doing outdoor activities, including being around many alligators. He's absolutely on the money about how to treat them. Tell him "Good work and stay safe" from us.
((Hugs))
Sparky ♥ ∞

VeRonda said...

That is unbelievable and crazy at the same time... Wow! I know he has stories when he comes home from work.

nikkipolani said...

What a great story, Tracie. You capture a good bit of your brother's personality - right from his youth. And those photos you posted are fantastic. Love the black and white of father and son bouncing through the verge.

Susan said...

Oh my goodness - while reading this I just kept thinking, "It's Steve Irwin!" How very interesting!

Islandsparrow said...

Very very cool. dangerous but cool :)

MSM said...

Your brother sounds like a neat guy to know, but your mother gets a huge award for taking a one-month old camping!!!
What a trooper! That picture of the three of you kids in the tent is hilarious..... I've never seen a baby camp.

Thanks for visiting my blog; I'm glad to have found yours, :)

this is my patch said...

What a job, I guess someone has to do it! Not me, although I was fascinated to see a crocodile in its natural habitat in Australia, plenty of distance between the two of us mind you, and within the safe confines of a boat. Isn't it something he has found a job he loves, I wish I could! Lovely snaps of when you were young, they are great to look back on, aren't they. x

Merle said...

Dear Rosezilla ~~ How brave your brother is - another Steve Irwin and he caught crocodiles in Australia.
I like the diamond joke too but I bet his wife didn't. I have thought of getting sa small pool to cool off in, but I wouldn't be able to get out of it if I sat down, So the shower has to be my cooler down -often twice a day lately. Take care,
Love, Merle.

Wanda said...

What an amazing story ~~ and true!! and your Brother!! I'm so impressed!

What a great set of pictures... Loved this post.

divastar said...

Oh my stars! I think the most dangerous thing we have around here is me with PMT ;o) most British stuff is pretty feeble in comparison to the US, you guys do have some impressive monsters!! Your brother seems to have a great understanding of those gators and good thing too, no wonder you are proud! :o) xxx

Lavinia said...

Wow! That has to be one of the most dangerous jobs ever! Your brother has courage in spades...

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