The American reality show Swamp People has shown the world how people living along the swamps of Louisiana, down South, hunt down, wrestle and capture alligators. I imagine this is a bit mystifying for us outsiders who never come in contact with crocodiles or alligators and have no clue what those guys are up to and why they do what they do.
Let's look at what it's like for those who live near these dangerous creatures and what motivates them to hunt down crocodiles and alligators.
Crocodiles and Alligators are Dangerous Predators
We're not talking docile deer here, that are "sitting ducks", so to speak. Crocodiles and alligators are known to kill children, men, women, tourists. In some areas, such as Louisiana where the the Swamp People hunt them, there is an overpopulation of them and they creep into people's backyards and terrorize them. Many hunters and their supporters feel it is a public service to keep the crocodile and alligator population down, to stave off their predation and terror.
It should be noted the most dangerous of crocodiles are found in Africa and Asia. Along the Nile, crocodile attacks are pretty common and many people are killed by crocodiles in that region. In addition, crocodile attacks are common in Borneo and in areas of the southwestern Pacific, such as New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
The American alligator is known to kill people in the Southern US, particularly Louisiana and Florida.
Crocodile Hunters Make Money
There's some money to be made in hunting crocodiles. People eat the meat of the creature, particularly in the Southern US and in Asia, and also make purses, boots, jackets, belts and wallets from the skin.
In areas, like Louisiana, where poverty is a strong possibility and people live off the land, hunting these reptilian predators is a good living and, basically, a job. It's that entrepreneurial spirit at work.
These guys pay for their hunting licenses and only hunt during the hunting season. They are legitimate businessmen. They sell what they hunt.
Though the business is heavily regulated. Hunters are given a certain number of tags, each equal to a "kill" and they either run out of tags or run out of time during hunting season. For the rest of the year, these businessmen must off-set what they don't make to make ends meet by hunting other animals like racoons, squirrels and other local wildlife.
So, what do they make hunting alligators? It's said that an alligator can bring about $15 a foot. These guys are capturing huge 10 foot alligators, and putting their life on the line to do it, and maybe making about $150 off of it. When you consider they have to have and maintain equipment and maybe hire help, then it seems it's a pretty tough business.
Swamp People Talk about Alligator Overpopulation, How Economical Alligator Trade is and Why People Like Them
What About Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin?
Though his show was called Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin did not exactly hunt crocodiles. His parents were conservationists and wildlife experts who ran a zoo, and Steve early on was caring for and even wrestling crocodiles. He went on to run the zoo and, of course, host his popular show about his dangerous search for the crocodile. He went on to found an organization for wildlife conservation and to showcase the beauty of getting in touch with wildlife on various television shows. His daughter, Bindi, went on to carry out her father's work, including a kids show called Bindi the Jungle Girl, broadcast on Discovery Kids.
What do you think?
Why Is Crocodile and Alligator Hunting Popular?
It's become popular again to talk about these thrill-seeking, tough characters who venture into the swamps to wrestle, hunt and capture crocodiles and alligators. Why?
We like the unusual, want to know how people live who are not like us, who live in far-off and wild areas and survive by their wits and on their own.
... on May 07, 2018:
Nice to see that more people voted to NOT kill crocodiles.
Micheal on June 12, 2017:
NathaNater (author) on June 20, 2014:
Thanks, Mona. Glad you stopped by, always good to see you.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 20, 2014:
This is an interesting and informative article. You're right, people want to know about how people live who are not like us, which is probably why your article was so engaging.