Don’t try this at home: Wildlife officer weighs in on Florida man catching alligator with a trashcan
BRUNSWICK COUNTY (WWAY) — A video of a Florida man catching and releasing an alligator using a trashcan is going viral, but local wildlife experts say it’s not just dangerous, it’s illegal.
The video garnered millions of views, and shows a homeowner corralling the alligator into a trashcan and then emptying it by a nearby pond.
According to Brunswick County Wildlife Officer Alex Holbrook, the Florida man should have called 911.
“We’re equipped to do it. We’re trained to do it,” Holbrook said. “That trashcan is not apart of our arsenal to catch an alligator, so it’s not advised.”
Holbrook said watching the video, he could only think about everything that could have gone wrong, especially when the homeowner approached the gator.
According to Holbrook, “He kind of instigated the situation. That alligator was trying to back itself away from that situation, that interaction. He kind of just kept pushing toward it. That’s not what you want to do.”
Trained professionals have the right tools to humanely and safely capture alligators, keeping their jaws closed and far away while doing so. Even smaller alligators like the one in the video can bite down with almost 3,000 pounds of force per inch.
“If it gets a hold of you, if it grabs an extremity, a finger, an arm, a limb, anything like that,” he continued, “I mean… alligators roll. So once it gets a hold of something, you’re going for a ride with it.”
According to Holbrook, American alligators are a federally protected species. Only licensed professionals are legally able to catch and relocate them.
“Technically at that point, (when the Florida man put the alligator into his trashcan) you have the alligator in captivity. So that is unlawful to do,” the officer explained. “You can’t have a protected species like that in your captivity.”
Holbrook said it could have been even worse when the man dumped the reptile near a pond.
“Their tail can also, I mean a bigger alligator, I mean you’re looking at 200-300 pounds of force coming around with that. And it’ll just take you off your feet in a heartbeat. Then you’re laying on the ground with an alligator.”
The biggest takeaway? Don’t try this at home.