To say Savannah Boan loves her job is quite an understatement!
Reptile-obsessed Savannah works at Gatorland in Florida, where she spends her days helping care for their 2500 alligators and crocodiles.
Although ex-marine Savannah has only been working at the park for just 7 months, it has been her lifelong dream to work alongside these ferocious-looking reptiles.
She explains, ‘My job here is a defender of alligators and a crocodilian enrichment coordinator.’
‘I love crocodiles and alligators so much! When I look at them I immediately get excited and butterflies in my stomach like I just saw a cute guy.’
‘I feel like I am always drawn to the things that are harder to love but crocodiles need love and attention and support just as well as all of those fluffy things!’
One of Savannah’s key roles is caring for the less-abled alligators, including Bullet, who was born with only three legs, Champ, who lost half of his face in an alligator attack, and Pearl, who is albino.
Mark McHugh, President & CEO at Gatorland says, ‘Savannah serves as our Crocodilian Enrichment Coordinator and really her job is to find new things for the alligators and the crocodiles to do that will stimulate them to get exercise – to stimulate not only their bodies but their mind. It enriches their world and enriches their life.’
Even though Savannah loves spending time with all 60 of the reptiles she is responsible for in the park, she admits that she does have a soft spot for 13-foot, 25-year-old crocodile, Dundee.
She says, ‘I sit with him all the time. I tell him stories and I gossip with him because I know he can’t tell nobody! He really doesn’t care because he’s just waiting for the next piece of food but I just pretend like we have the greatest relationship ever!’
‘Reptiles aren’t very grateful but that’s OK because they still deserve the best care and the best treatment in the world.’
‘I think that the most common misconception about alligators is that if you see one anywhere, that it wants to eat and kill you.’
‘They just want you to leave them alone. Same with crocodiles – they don’t want to come get in your boat, they don’t want to come steal your Cheetos, they don’t want anything to do with that!’
Now, Savannah wants to use her role at Gatorland to help change peoples opinions of alligators and crocodiles.
She says, ‘In my future all I want to do is help inspire little girls and women all around the world and let them know that they can do amazing things with amazing animals just like I am!’
‘I want people to respect alligators and crocodiles and I want people to not be afraid of them.’
‘They are amazing animals and you can’t say you’re an animal lover if you just love the furry ones!’