How to Wrestle an Alligator

Don’t think you need to know how to wrestle an alligator? Consider this: 

Say you’re taking a refreshing dip in a putrid swamp, enjoying the murky water. But suddenly, as you absent-mindedly scratch your chigger bites, a wild alligator appears right in front of you! Wide-mouthed and ready to put you on a severe weight loss regimen. How do you defend yourself? How do you wrestle an alligator? 

In case you don’t feel like dying one day, follow these steps to stay safe in the swamp:

Prepare to Subdue the Alligator

First, position yourself directly behind the alligator. Never approach from the side or the front (that’s the pointy end). If you have the time, get something to cover the alligator’s eyes. A towel, a shirt, or cashmere shawl will work.

Approaching the alligator from the tail, jump on its back, straddling it between your legs. Try to pin as much of the gator to the ground as possible, using your whole body if necessary. The less an alligator can move, the better. 

Cover the eyes of the alligator. This, like putting blinders on a horse, will help calm the gator. After all, you’re less likely to be afraid of what you cannot see, right? (RIGHT?!) At the very least, the alligator can’t take aim for an impromptu bite. Important stuff.

Immobilize the Alligator

Place your hands on the alligator’s neck right behind its jaws and the front legs. Both hands should have a tight grip of the alligator’s neck. Force the head to the ground to stop the jaws from opening. 

Alligators can bite down with approximately 2,000 pounds of force. But they have very little strength, comparatively, with which to open their jaws. So it is possible to keep a gator’s jaws shut with only one hand. You know, assuming it doesn’t throw you to the ground to make less of a man out of you. 

Next, elevate the head of the alligator towards your chest by pulling up on the neck or front legs. If the head is nearly at a ninety degree angle, it cannot  fight back.

Escape Over Land

But you can’t straddle a gator forever. It’s true. 

If you’re fortunate enough to have a length of rope, a belt or a roll of tape within reach, lash the alligator’s jaws together with it. Locate the jaw line of the alligator by sliding your hand forward and down. Once you’ve found it, place your fingers on the jaw of the alligator with your palm and thumb on top. The closer you place your hands to the tip of the mouth, the easier it is.

If you cannot (or don't want to) lash the jaws together, continue to pin the alligator to the ground until it calms down. Try to cover its eyes, pick an escape route, then jump off the gator backwards, keeping as much distance between your cherished appendages its head as possible. 

It should be noted that having lashed the alligator’s jaws together, if left to return to the wild, the alligator will most likely starve to death. Therefore you should only lash the jaws together in a life or death survival situation, and not while trying to impress your girlfriend. 

Sprint away, hopefully not into the open jaws of one of his buddies. Stay clear of water. While alligators are capable of lightning-quick bursts of speed on land, their gate becomes cumbersome over distance. However, they’re perfectly at home in the water, so don’t give them more of an advantage than necessary.

Congratulations, you just wrestled with an alligator! And escaped! With most of your limbs! Now you can get a clean pair of shorts.

Learn to Wrestle an Alligator - Colorado Gators Reptile Park

If you find yourself in Mosca, Colorado and in need of hands-on, gator-wranglin' instruction, look no further than Colorado Gators Reptile Park. There you can wrestle gators from 2 feet to 8 feet long. However, be prepared to sign your life away; their website describes the class as "Not for the faint of heart".

The video was shot by students at CGRP and shows how to handle gators of varying sizes. The right way and the wrong way, apparently. 

Learn More Animal Survival Techniques HERE.

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