A daredevil duo from Texas are dedicating their lives to keeping alligators safe.
Known as the Gator Squad, former dental nurse Christy Kroboth and ex healthcare manager Chris Stephens spend their days capturing the giant reptiles.
But, unlike other similar services, the Gator Squad never exterminate animals and are committed to relocating the alligators they catch as well as educating the public on how to cope if they encounter one.
Christy explains, ‘what sets Gator Squad apart from other alligator catchers in the United States is our platform for education, teaching people about these amazing animals.’
‘We’re not out there looking to make a couple extra bucks, we are more concerned with the alligators’ safety and well-being and how can we teach people to leave these alligators alone.’
‘Many people are afraid of alligators – they think alligators are going to eat their babies, they think alligators are going to eat their dogs – and I never had that experience growing up around alligators.’
Compared to self-confessed adrenaline junkie Chris, who is a trained army medic and keen skydiver, 31-year-old dental assistant Christy didn’t seem like the obvious candidate for catching alligators! But she certainly pulls her weight – even managing to capture a 13ft beast called Godzilla.
She says, ‘So the biggest alligator I ever caught we actually named him ‘Godzilla’. He was 13 and a half foot – he was huge!’
‘A typical alligator catch on land should take around 20-30 minutes but this catch took 4 hours. Luckily we were at a home improvement store that let us use their forklift to pick the alligator up and put him in our truck because he ended up weighing over 900lb!’
But despite this impressive catch and their years of experience, Christy and Chris are well aware of just how dangerous their job can be.
Christy says, ‘some of the more dangerous situations are in swimming pools when we actually enter the water and swim with these guys, or entering the big bodies of ponds or lakes that we have out here.’
‘There’s a lot of times Chris goes into the water and he’s up to his shoulders and all I see is his head floating above the water and I’m trying to watch him, I’m trying to watch the alligator and make sure another one doesn’t sneak up.’
On average, the Gator Squad capture and release over 100 alligators each year and have been called out to some very unusual locations, including an airport runway and a water park.
Christy explains, ‘the oddest place I guess was in a cement factory in the poisoned water, where we had a poor gator about 5ft long that was living in water.’
‘He had no life; green slime, nasty conditions but he had a food source because people were feeding him.’
Keep up the amazing work guys!
Don’t forget to watch the video above to see the Gator Squad in action.