Alligators are basically living dinosaurs, and they're totally deadly.
Floridians often encounter them hanging out in their swimming pools or on golf courses where they're not bothering anyone. We were all recently reminded when a two-year-old died at Disney World, however, that these are wild beasts that are not meant to come into contact with humans.
I grew up going to reptile sanctuaries that housed alligators, and sometimes park rangers would even let us kids feel the scales of a carefully controlled baby alligator handled by an expert. Jim Nesci's "Cold Blooded Creatures" program is taking the idea of educating kids about reptiles to a new and potentially dangerous level.
We can see here a child riding on the back of a full-grown alligator during one of Nesci's performances.video-player-present
It's important to remember that not only are the children at risk, but the alligators are, too. Unlike horses, camels, or pack animals, an alligator's back is not built to support the weight of a human.
This video captures a harrowing moment where the alligator freezes up and doesn't respond to commands for several seconds before complying.video-player-present
This interaction could have easily gone wrong and resulted in one (or more) injured people. Asking a full-grown gator to perform parlor tricks is no life for a wild animal. Animals that cannot survive on their own in the wild should not be subjected to inhumane treatment in captivity.