A man jumps from a swamp boat in the water to feed chicken and marshmallows to two alligators. At one point the guide puts a marshmallow in his mouth and lets one of the gators snatch it away.
The scene was captured on video by Stacy Hicks of St. Helens, Oregon, who visited the area in May. The video has been shared more than 100,000 times on Facebook.
“When he (the guide) jumped in I was a little scared, more for him than us though. I am surprised at the attention this video has gotten. I just thought that this was a thing that happens all the time on the tours,” Hicks said.
There is no state law prohibiting luring and feeding of alligators, but it’s against local law in Jefferson Parish, where the Airboat Adventures tour company is based.
Bo Boehringer, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said wildlife agents and parish officials are reviewing the video to determine if there was any wrongdoing.
Legal or not, wildlife officials say the video shows the unidentified guide took a risk.
According to Aleutia Scott, a supervising ranger at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, alligators are “eating machines,” and a big one has massive force in its jaws.
The alligators in the video appear to be about 5 feet long, indicating they are still growing, Scott said. Alligators are roughly a foot in length at birth and at full maturity, females can reach lengths of 8 to 10 feet and males 12 to 14 feet, she said.
Human interaction with the reptiles could make them aggressive, Scott said.
“This is not a zoo. This is a natural habitat,” she said. “The animals need to be doing their normal things. Feeding. Foraging. Reproducing. And we, as humans, don’t want to interrupt that.”
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