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The Pointlessness of Alligator Wrestling

Peter is an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer with over 50 years of work within zoos.

It actually makes little difference as to whether it is an Alligator or a Crocodile. Why on earth would one want or need to wrestle one at all? Why would one want to do any sort of 'handling show' with one? Without a very good reason it should be unnecessary to ever handle a crocodilian and without that reason any handling would be looked upon as teasing at best and animal cruelty at its worst.

The actual act of 'Alligator Wrestling' or handling any Crocodilian is not clever, it is not brave, skilled or wonderful. It amounts to nothing better than showing off. In fact it is actually a stupid thing to do. It is yet another of these 'Look at me, I'm Tarzan' sort of circus performance on a par with the so called big cat experts with their completely unnecessary handling of tame declawed white tigers.

There are risks involved with Crocodilians, people do get injured and, to my way of thinking, deservedly so. People who run across roads in the path of moving traffic are taking a risk that they may get hit. Crocodile Wrestling/Handling is not that much different because one day the Wrestler/Handler may get bit.

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Photo by:

Crocodilians have been on this planet since before man was an amoeba. Of the species we share the earth with today some are endangered because of man.

Reputable zoos are making efforts to conserve and ensure their survival.

There are countless thousands of Crocodilians in farms being maintained to produce leather and meat.

I don't profess to be an expert on Crocodilians. I have seen hundreds of thousands but I have only worked with a few dozen over fifty years. I have caught them up for moves, for sexing, for force feeding and for medical treatment. That's it. I have never had to wrestle one....ever! Why? Because it is totally unnecessary to do so. I am not a wrestler but I have little problem weighing up an animal, its enclosure, assessing the risks and then catching and doing what needs to be done. If the animal is large it may take team work and a bit of organisation but it does not need wrestling.

Alligators and Crocodiles need very little handling. Providing that temperatures are okay, water quality is passable and feeding is regular they are virtually maintenance free. In fact the Crocodilians out of all captive animals probably require less handling than any other.

Such creatures may look fearsome but in actual fact are quiet, well mannered and predicatable. When nesting they do need a special eye keeping on them but they don't need wrestling.

Crocodiles and Alligators NEVER need wrestling.

No Place in Zoos

Alligator Wrestling displays has no place in the modern zoo. Where it does take place it shows a commitment to cash and NOT conservation. The sensitivites of the animal are not taken into consideration. It is pure and simple animal cruelty.

Getting the animals to chase or leap for food is fair enough as long as no human is at risk and especially if accompanied by an informative dialogue. The animal is enriched by the activity, benefits from the exercise and the public gets some EDUtainment. Everybody gains.

Alligator Wrestling A Sport?????

Cruelty to Crocodilians

Now there are plans to turn Alligator Wrestling into an extreme sport with International competition. Whilst much of the world is working towards the eradication of animal abuse the Alligators Wrestlers are trying to establish a new one and legitimise cruelty to Crocodilians..

There is no excuse for animal abuse and teasing.

Crocodile Teasing in an Australian Zoo


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Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 20, 2010:

i scribble - I'm with you...women's beach volleyball for me everytime ;-) ...seriously though I am sure you are right. There is so much about our bodies we don't understand. There is a bit of our brains devoted to religion. Some believe more than others. Pornography turns some off and others on. Scents can do amazing things. We are an odd species.

i scribble on March 20, 2010:

If I had to try to explain crocodile wrestling, dog fighting, cock fighting, bull fights, ultimate fighting, boxing, and the like in one word, it would be testosterone. No offense to men intended; it just seems to be the biochemistry of the male. Do you agree? As a woman, I like to watch & participate in stuff like skating, running, and gymnastics. I don't like to watch shows where animals kill other animals, even for food.

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 17, 2010:

Yes Lee B, it wasn't pleasant as I recall.

Lee A Barton from New Mexico on March 16, 2010:

I think you chose wisely!

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 14, 2010:

Lee B - there was a video of a head in mouth going wrong. I thought to dig it out and include but changed my mind. The head in mouth stunt is common to most shows.

Lee A Barton from New Mexico on March 14, 2010:

The Crocodile Show Went Wrong video really makes your point. It was such pointless, disrespectful behavior. Lucky for that guy he didn't put his head in the crocodile's mouth!

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 14, 2010:

Thanks for visiting theherbivorehippi. I appreciate the link too so thanks again.

theherbivorehippi from Holly, MI on March 14, 2010:

Fabulous hub!!! I agree with you 100% This is ridiculous! Animals are not ours to use for entertainment. The animal doesn't get a choice if it wants to participate or not. Anyone wrestling with one deserves what they get and they deserve to be dinner for these remarkable creatures! I'm going to link this hub to a few of my animal cruelty hubs...I hope you don't mind!? Thanks for sharing!

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 13, 2010:

Thanks thooghun. It is something I have thought about a lot. I have seen several shows, all watched in line with my work, in the interests of science. Never liked one. Funnily enough the first I ever saw was in the Seminole Indian village and zoo in Ft. Lauderdale where they are planning to hold the Alligator Wrestling Championships.

James Nelmondo from Genova, Italy on March 13, 2010:

Peter, great Hub. You are quite right of course, it is frivolous and pointless and is animal abuse (minus the damage).

The problem is partly ours. Our fascination with predators and the communal perception of danger. But as you say, knowledge and experience go a long way in dispelling the notion that crocodiles are unicellular killing machines.

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 13, 2010:

Ralph - You are not wrong. Pitbulls get ripped to bits. With Alligators it is simply animal abuse but they may have injuries we cannot see.

I agree with you and sadly I believe if we opened the coliseum in Rome tomorrow for gladitorial fights that there would be standing room only.

Ralph Deeds from Birmingham, Michigan on March 13, 2010:

That's true, but my impression is tht the alligators aren't hurt like Pitbulls are in dog fighting. (I've never seen either in person.) As far as I'm concerned ultimate fighting spectacles are barbaric and should be illegal. We may as well resurrect the Roman gladiators.

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 13, 2010:

Ralph - I am no fan of Ultimate Fighting but at least the participants get a choice. The unfortunate alligators and crocodiles do not.

Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on March 13, 2010:

Hello Hello - It is a sad reflection on 'civilised' society. Thanks for dropping by.

Ralph Deeds from Birmingham, Michigan on March 13, 2010:

Alligator wrestling bad but not nearly so bad and uncivilized as ultimate fighting.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on March 13, 2010:

I agree with you, Peter, that it is so unnecessary. It is just to get some money out of people and being earned by somebody who is not anywhere near it. I am sure the person who wrestles doesn't get half as much. Thank you for your hub and drawing the attention to it.

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