Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Attack of the Mini-Gator

James Gaff, a homeowner near Eustis, Florida, had to be treated for bite wounds when a two-foot-long alligator wandered into his house via the porch door.

I guess that the 52-year-old Gaff wasn't familiar with alligator handling, or perhaps his reflexes were slowing a bit with middle age. With a two or three-foot alligator, you grab it by the scruff of the neck with one hand and secure the tail with the other hand. It's actually possible to stun a small alligator by flipping it onto its back and stroking its belly, something I have seen the late herpetologist Ross Allen and his son Tom do on occasion. Ross was famed in Florida for his reptile handling, and ran the snake show at Silver Springs for many years. He is mentioned in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' book Cross Creek and actually took Rawlings rattlesnake hunting.

Here's a pic of Ross in his prime:

Maybe he wasn't as charismatic as the late Steve Irwin, but Ross taught many thousands of Americans to not be afraid of the reptiles that dwell among us.

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