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JAWS! Swimming with Gators!

JAWS! Swimming with Gators!

– Behind me, we’ve got
a bunch of alligators, what looks like a
giant swimming pool, and the crew and I
are going to get in and see if we can get some
up-close underwater shots. Get ready guys. The Brave crew and I are
going swimming with gators. (tribal music) (alligator hissing) The endless expanse of
swampy sawgrass fields stretch on for miles, making the South
Florida Everglades one of the most unique
habitats on our planet. If you choose to
set out on foot, it is likely that in
very little time at all, you will become lost
in this maze of chaos that is home to one of the most
feared reptilian predators, the American alligator. These prehistoric-looking
creatures have been on our
planet since the days when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Yet they managed to survive
beyond the mass extinction of their ancient relatives. I have worked with
alligators in the past. From catching a 10-foot,
300-pound specimen with my bare hands to intentionally placing my
arm inside upon its mouth, it’s safe to say that I have
had my close encounters. However, one style of
encounter is yet to be had. I’m going to submerge in to
a pool filled with alligators and swim alongside them. Today, we are working at
the Everglades Outpost, a wildlife sanctuary
that is home to a number of
intimidating alligators. In order to capture
this episode on camera, we will be working
under the guidance and expertise of Chris Gillette. For well over a decade, Chris has been working with
animals of all shapes and sizes, yet he specializes
in crocodilians. He also happens to
be close friends with Brave Wilderness wildlife
biologist, Mario Aldecoa. And together, they have
spent years working to educate the public about these oftentimes
misunderstood reptiles. Okay, now for me and
of course for you Mark, this is the first time we will
ever swim with alligators. But Mario and Chris have an
incredible amount of experience. They’ve been swimming
with alligators and crocodiles
for several years. Now, Mario and Chris
go way back together. They’ve been working
together since what? Pretty much childhood right?
– Yep. – Best buddies?
– Yep. Best buddies in reptiles. And you guys are just surveying
the pond or swimming pool, I guess is you would
call it at the moment. What do we know, is it
safe to get in the water? – Safe enough. – Safe enough says
Chris who swims with alligators all the time. Now, I’m gonna admit guys,
I’m a little nervous. Being on land and
catching an alligator, I feel like I’m in control
but actually getting in to their realm beneath the
surface is definitely new. So I’m gonna trade in
the cowboy hat today for a dive mask
and some flippers. We’re gonna see if we can
get some epic up-close shots. I am always the first to admit when filming an episode
makes me nervous. And in my mind, all I
could see were flashes of the alligator feeding frenzy that we also recently
captured on camera. So I’m sure that
you can understand why I felt that swimming
in a pool of them was borderline crazy. Yet despite my hesitation, I fully trust Chris and Mario. So we geared up in our
wetsuits, powered on our GoPros, and prepared to enter
into the realm of gators. (suspenseful music) – All right. We’re good to go. – How you guys doing? – [Mark] Good. – Good so far, right? – [Coyote] Yes. So now the play is
to get some more of the alligators in
to the water right? – That’s right. So once the alligators
disperse throughout the pond, you now have to be aware
of where you’re stepping. You might be focused on an
alligator that’s in front of you but accidentally back
in to an alligator that’s right next to you. Just be aware of
your surrounding,
slow, calm movements. – Yeah you don’t want to be
looking at Casper on the surface and accidentally put your foot in the mouth of the
one on the bottom. – You guys ready? – [Coyote] Let’s do it. Let’s get the
gators in the water. The American alligator
is widely considered to be the most dangerous,
nonvenomous reptile in the United States. And while attacks do
occasionally happen on humans, they are rarely fatal
and are often a result of mistaken identity. Their primary and preferred
prey includes fish, other reptiles, amphibians,
birds, and small mammals. – So this is Casper, he
is very nice, very calm but like we were saying before, even a little bit of a splash can get him to pop up and bite. And then if I’m nice
and calm and gentle, get my leg a little bit, but I could still hold
him up, hang out with him. And he’s looking
for food right now, that’s not defensively
trying to bite. He’s hoping to bump in
to something edible. You see if I hold him up, he’s actually
nice, calm, relaxed but again, if you (sputters) make a splash, he goes
right for the splash. That’s why it’s so important, see we got this
one’s attention, too. You gotta be nice
and calm in here. – So now am I able to touch him? What would happen if I come in and sorta–
– Yeah, yeah, you could totally touching him. You just don’t want
to be splashing. And when you look at
the side of the face, those little black dots, the
integumentary sensory organs, that’s what’s super sensitive
to movement, to sensation. So if you touch those
little black dots. – [Mario] You better
watch it Coyote. – Big snout swinging
around at you, yeah, he said, yeah, all right, you made contact,
back off a little bit. Wow, so cool being able
to just touch an alligator in a calm setting like this. You need to see how laid-back
this creature’s demeanor is. Now obviously in the wild, nobody would ever want to
get in to a pond or a lake with an alligator
and get this close. – I’ve known Casper
here for over 10 years. Him and I have worked
personally together, so I understand his
behavior really well, but he’s still a wild animal. That time spent does
not mean he’s tame, he’s not my friend, and
I mean, as you can see, if I accidentally swing
my arm the wrong way, he’s gonna try to bite me, just like any other
wild alligator would. – I’m gonna get some cool shots right under his mouth like that. That’s cool, now
Chris do you think if you do that slapping motion, we can get him sort of
bite towards the camera? – Oh, absolutely. – All right, let’s see if
we can get that to happen. – You ready?
– Yep. (water splashing) Alligators rely on their ability to feel vibrations in the water and also their keen
sense of hearing to detect that a possible
food source is nearby. So as we move through the water, it was important
to glide quietly so as to not mimic
their typical prey. In clear water, alligators
can see rather well, allowing them to distinguish that we were humans
and not prey. So as a result, their
behavior was rather skittish. All right, so we’re gonna try something pretty
interesting here. Chris, you said you can
actually call in one of these alligators, right? – Yeah, so I’ve done some
name training with them and having them associate
their name with getting fed and so there’s a smaller one, you met Casper he’s the big guy, there’s a smaller one named
Saw, I’m gonna call over. We name this one Saw ’cause his face kinda
looks like a saw blade, the teeth kinda stick out, so. – That’s fitting. Okay, here we go guys. We’re gonna actually
bring an alligator right up to the cameras. Whenever you’re ready.
– Saw. Saw. Here she comes. – Look at that. – Right through us.
– Speeding straight toward us. – [Chris] It’s a good girl. Watch out Mario, it’s
coming straight for you. (suspenseful music) – [Coyote] Wow,
look at that Chris. That is cool. So is that her
expecting to be fed? – [Chris] Yes. – [Coyote] And then coming
in to the situation, obviously didn’t feed
her, so she said, oh, nothing for me,
I’m gonna move on. She’s still curious, you can
see she’s still coming back in to the shot, diving
beneath the surface. Do they ever get agitated
if you call them in to eat something and there’s
nothing there to be had? – I don’t like to do that. Watch your back, Mark. He was coming over to give
you a little nibble there. – Hey, well, that’s why
we have a team, right? – That’s when the attack comes, not from the front
but from the sides. – [Mario] Never the
one you’re looking at. – [Chris] Yep. – By this point, I had
certainly grown comfortable being in a pool of gators. And while we certainly
had to stay on guard, we all took the opportunity to get some epic
underwater shots. The grace of a gator is
truly something to admire as in the water these
massive reptiles almost appear to be weightless. With their short stout
legs pressed close against their scaly bodies, they propel themselves forward
with strong muscular tails. From beneath the surface, it’s easy to see how
these apex predators are capable of
silently moving in on any unsuspecting prey item. All right guys, well
that was pretty epic. We spent the afternoon swimming
with the American alligator and the good news is
none of us were eaten. – That’s right, yeah.
– It’s actually pretty safe. – Fun. Well Chris, thank you so much
for leading this expedition. Mario, amazing work as always. Mark, you got some good shots? – [Mark] Sure did,
that was amazing. – Yeah, this episode is
gonna definitely turn in to something pretty cool. I’m coyote Peterson,
be brave, stay wild. We’ll see you on
the next adventure. All right guys, time to dry off. Getting the chance to enter and fully submerge
in a body of water that was teeming with alligators is not exactly the kind
of reptilian encounter you would ever imagine possible. Yet under watchful eyes
and with expert guidance, this episode helped us prove that alligators are not
bloodthirsty man killers. For generations, humans have
feared these massive reptiles but the good news is
that crocodilian experts, like Chris and Mario
are constantly working to educate the public
about these animals so that they are viewed with
respect and understanding as opposed to fear. The American alligator is
truly King of the Everglades. And unless you are working
with an expert, never approach, and certainly never
enter a body of water with one of these
formidable predators. The safest encounter
you can have is to simply admire them
from a safe distance. If you thought swimming
with alligators was intense, make sure to go back
and watch the episode where we took a
bucket of rotting meat and created an alligator
feeding frenzy. And don’t forget, subscribe,
so you can join me and the crew on this season of
Breaking Trail. (water splashing) (animals howling and chirping)

100 thoughts on “JAWS! Swimming with Gators!”

  1. Spectacular! To come face-to-face with a crocodilian? A unique experience. I wish I will be able to see them from that close with safety one day.

  2. Pretty cool guys…..I am glad you got to do this. I think all animals deserve respect… matter what! ???

  3. You should have got chandler from chandlers wildlife to be in the video he works there and has transported alligators from that pool

  4. Coyote: Now, Mario and Chris go way back together. They have been working together since, what? Pretty much childhood right?
    Mario: Yep
    Coyote: Best buddies?!
    Mario: Yeh
    Coyote *slightly jealous*: Best buddies in REPTILES!

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