By Stevie Adams / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

GABBY SCAMPONE: What I do is awesome but wrestling
and trapping alligators – it definitely has its risks. GABBY SCAMPONE: So, I was actually on a date
last week, half way through the date and Paul calls me about an alligator. So, obviously
I have to go get it but it was a blessing in disguise because the guy didn’t want
to come with me. So, there will not be a second date. GABBY SCAMPONE: My name is Gabby. I am 22
years old. I am a volunteer at Everglades Holiday Park and I also catch alligators for
Gator Boys Alligator Rescue. GABBY SCAMPONE: I have only been doing this
for four months. I have been very fortunate and I have not had any mishaps. I still have all
ten of my fingers and I plan on keeping all of them. GABBY SCAMPONE: Hey, piggyback ride! GABBY SCAMPONE: Since I was like 15 I have
always loved reptiles. I mean, obviously we don’t have alligators in New York. So, when
I moved here, I just, I fell in love with them. When I first told my parents that I
was wrestling alligators, they weren’t too excited but they support me in everything
I do. PAUL BEDARD: My name is Paul Bedard. I am
the, basically owner of Gator Boys Alligator Rescue. The big difference with Gabby is just
her passion and you can see that from day one. She, kind of, gives them these anthropomorphic
qualities like I do. You make them seem like they are human and they are your buddies and
they are not. They don’t like us. They tolerate us. But she understands that and she loves
them nonetheless. GABBY SCAMPONE: Swampy! Hi Swampy. This is
the love of my life. This is Swamp Thing. PAUL BEDARD: When are you guys getting married? GABBY SCAMPONE: I don’t know. It’s up
to him. PAUL BEDARD: Yeah, never. GABBY SCAMPONE: My angel, hi love. Where are
you going? Hey, don’t leave me. GABBY SCAMPONE: A lot of people just assume
I am crazy and, you know, just tell me that I am insane. You know obviously if you see
a person kissing an alligator but they don’t understand the alligators that I work with
are typically really sweet and I am able to get away with that. Well, when you are first
learning to wrestle alligators it’s a slow process and you work with a taped gator
and then from there, you know, the tape slowly comes off and you start doing it more and
more. GABBY SCAMPONE: Now keep in mind I am alone.
So now, I am on her back and I need to come up with a way to hold the jaw shut, freeing up
both of my hands. Okay, I’m holding the jaw shut by using your chin and your chest. GABBY SCAMPONE: Take your pictures quickly.
Take out a rope, couple of rubs, tie a knot and you have yourself a caught and tied alligator. GABBY SCAMPONE: I like working with predators
and showing like the nicer side of them. Snakes have always really been my thing and a lot
of people are afraid of snakes. So, I feel like if they see a girl with a snake they
are more, like, open to changing their mind and maybe not thinking they are so dangerous.
It’s the same with alligators. GABBY SCAMPONE: Okay, the last trick is called
the face off and that’s because if it goes horribly, horribly wrong, yeah your face comes
off. What I am going to do I am going to open up her mouth and place my chin on the top
of her jaw. Now if anything falls inside the mouth — a drop of sweat, sand — as a reaction
the jaws will immediately slam shut. So we are going to do this nice and carefully. GABBY SCAMPONE: Smells great by the way. GABBY SCAMPONE: Whenever you are working with an animal there are risks obviously but when
you are working with a large predator like this, you can lose your hand, you can lose
fingers. It can rip your arm off. They are no joke. GABBY SCAMPONE: All right. Thank you Mac.
You are free to go, but as you guys can see no hurt feelings, no animosity. I treated
her with respect. She did the same. So that does conclude the show guys. Thank you so
much for coming today and have a great day. GABBY SCAMPONE: So when we go and trap alligators
they are nuisance alligators. So a nuisance alligator is any alligator that is deemed
to be a threat to people, pets or livestock. So, sometimes they are in swimming pools,
the golf course. A lot of the time people just don’t want them in the backyard because
they are afraid of them. Okay, so the state just issued out a permit to us for two alligators.
Apparently, she’s seen them in the area the last week but I think she spotted them
today. I thought I did but I don’t
see him anymore. Just look over there. GABBY SCAMPONE: All right. So, the alligator
is responding to the call box right now. He is actually coming closer. So, if he gets
close enough I will be able to hopefully cast on him. GABBY SCAMPONE: So, we have been here for
about 20 minutes now. The gator still hasn’t popped up. So, it’s not looking great but
who knows anything can happen. Hopefully, he will pop up but they could hold their breath
4-6 hours. So, he may be down for the day. GABBY SCAMPONE: Most trappers will catch the
alligator and kill it and sell it for its meat and hide. Paul and I are two of the very
few trappers in the entire state that don’t kill the alligator. GABBY SCAMPONE: In the future I definitely
plan on working with animals. My entire life I am going to always be surrounded by animals.
I see myself trapping in the future for sure, rescuing alligators and I am planning on keeping
all ten of my fingers. Hopefully that happens.

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