As far as having an adventure goes, you probably didn’t have wrangling alligators in mind. Luke Kuhn has this adventure all the time; it’s his job. He has become a celebrity in Homestead, Florida for his work at the Everglades Alligator Farm. It’s one of the few places around the world that you can go see alligator wrangling, and just watching him work is an adventure in its own right.
From out of the green opaque water, an alligator will emerge, ready to chomp down on his snack. Luke never fears that the snack will be him. He’s prepped and ready with a big and naked turkey carcass. The alligator slowly waddles over, deliberately cornering its pray. Luke is behind a fence, a safety feature he puts a lot of confidence in. The alligator reaches the fence with the steady Luke craning his turkey just above the beast’s head. You’d think he was teasing the gator, dangling what it desires just out of its reach, until it suddenly jumps up (yes, alligators can jump) and snags the turkey right out of Luke’s hands.
There are over 2,000 of these reptile kings at the farm. One of the gators is 6o years old and measures to over 13 feet (I don’t like little things jumping at me, let alone something that is twice my size). Luke gets to feed them all as well as the other animals there. If you thought alligators were dangerous, you’d tremble to know that the farm has a Puma, which Luke feeds. It’s a job that only the craziest people would do.
Luke doesn’t just feed them, he wrestles around with them as well. It’s a long tradition of showmanship in Florida; a tourist attraction to bring even more excitement to the everglade state. These gators are no pets, they will eat up people parts as easily as they eat turkey parts. Still, Luke gets into the ring every workday, ready to get toe to toe with the teeth, scales, and muscles that make the alligator such a ferocious predator. He also does snake shows over at Snake Island, another part of the farm.
If you’re ever on an adventure through Florida, perhaps you’re going to Key West to party it up, stop by and see Luke do what we all wish we had the guts to do, wrestle alligators.
Photo Courtesy of animalsamazing.com