'Nuisance Alligators' Keep Trying To Vacation At Disney World
Bored with the swamps and tired of the general horrors of Florida, some alligators have opted to vacation in the state’s amusement capital: Disney World. They are, shockingly, not welcome, especially due to a past tragedy that resulted from their presence. Now, an elite group of Florida Men tracks down these invasive reptiles.
Alligators have long been an issue on Disney property. There are more than 1.3 million alligators in the state, and they inhabit all counties, so it makes sense that some of them would find their way to Disney. The issue is not just that a few alligators have wandered onto resort grounds; it is that there have been a lot of Disney World alligators.
The abundance of gators culminated in an alligator attack that resulted in the tragic death of a two-year-old boy at the Seven Seas Lagoon in 2016. This horrific event forced Disney World to address the alligator concerns. Warning signs and barriers were added to provide some sort of liability protection.
But to ensure that something so awful would not happen again, Florida’s finest were brought in. This is, of course, referring to contracted trappers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The FWC deals with thousands of annual alligator calls as part of their Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (get it? SNAP?). What is a nuisance alligator, you ask? Well, according to the FWC, nuisance alligators are gators that are more than four feet long and away from typical alligator habitats. These are the gators that can pose a threat to people or pets. Though, every alligator that shows up where it shouldn’t be is probably a nuisance …
Contractors with the FWC respond to calls for nuisance alligators, and they receive $30 for each alligator they trap. That number may seem a bit low to catch a potentially dangerous reptile, but apparently, it’s enough. Since the fatal attack in 2016, trappers have caught more than 250 alligators on Disney World property. Alternatively, one could say that trappers claimed $7,500 in alligator bounties, which again, just doesn’t seem like that much.
Do these captured alligators get Disney fairytale endings after being trapped? Ehhhh, no. Usually no. Nuisance alligators can be taken to zoos or wildlife reserves, but this isn’t normally what happens. They can’t be released into the wild because they often return to the location of their capture. You can’t blame them for wanting to go back to Epcot.
What usually happens is that the gators are just euthanized. Florida’s alligator population is not considered to be in danger, and since the nuisance alligators often have nowhere to go, this is just how it is. Plus, trappers can make money from the meat and skin from captured Disney gators, which makes the initial $30 bounty much more appealing.
If you plan on vacationing to Disney World, just know that you can (mostly) rest easy, as the gator problem has (probably) been taken care of. And if you’re in Florida and looking for some extra cash, being an alligator bounty hunter may be for you.
Top Image: TeeFarm/Pixabay