No, alligators cannot be tamed and domesticated. They are wild animals, and they do not have the proper brain function to understand domestication. They hunt at will, and they do not recognize any master.
Alligators are social animals, but their social skills are limited to their own kind. These groups are called a congregation. As far as other animals go, everything is food.
Can alligators become pets?
No, alligators are not pets, will not become pets, and will never be good pets. Baby alligators are cute. Once they grow, they are dangerous.
An alligator can easily overpower a human being. Even trained professionals have no guarantee that the gators will follow all their commands.
There was this incident where a trainer got bit, and the gator did a death roll. Luckily, it happened in a contained facility, and there were other trainers around.
Alligators are creatures that do not have prejudice or biases. Instead, they are opportunistic hunters, and they will eat what they can overpower.
If these trainers who spend their lives with gators can become victims, an average person will surely become gator food one day.
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Do alligators recognize their owners?
It is possible but rare. There is this case of a person who uses an alligator as a comfort animal. The owner even has a license for it.
Recognition, however, does not equate to being tamed or submissive. Even dogs, animals that have been domesticated for thousands of years, will bite their owners.
If intelligent animals such as dogs can go berserk and bite their owners, one cannot help but think how dangerous alligators can be.
Surely, alligators can be smart enough to recognize their owner and trainers. However, this does not mean that they respect the authority of the owner.
At best, the alligator may not attack an owner if the gator has already associated the human with food. After all, it is the owner who feeds that gator. As such, the gator will eventually realize that the owner’s presence means food.
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Can alligators be trained?
Yes, alligators can be trained. Some alligators in captivity can respond to their names. However, training alligators is not the same as training dogs.
One expert said that the method to train alligators is called operant conditioning. They must do this because an alligator’s brain is not huge. An alligator’s brain is the size of a walnut and is only about eight to nine grams.
Operant conditioning is a process where the animal has to behave in such a way to avoid punishment. In this method, the principle is that an animal behaves according to the consequences of that action.
Operant conditioning is a goal-oriented kind of training. It is not only about punishment but also rewards. For example, dog trainers give treats to dogs if the dogs did the right thing in cue or command.
Alligators are hard to train. These animals are survivors, and they lived for millions of years because of their aggression. Some people say that eventually, alligators will get used to humans.
While it is true, it does not mean that the alligators will not eat the human around them. They merely associate the trainers with something else. But then, accidents can still happen. Even those that perform with alligators and crocodiles can seriously get hurt.
The bottom line is that nobody should think that gators are as trainable as dogs. They are also not trainable like carrots and cats. Alligators have small brains, and small brains mean that they are instinctive animals.
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Can alligators bond with humans?
No, there is no known case of alligators bonding with humans. There are many videos that show humans petting gators, seemingly showing that gators are nice animals.
This cannot be farther from the truth. Alligators will eat what they can if they are hungry. It is highly likely that in these shows, the gators were fully fed before they were displayed.
Although there is no documented case of an alligator bonding with humans, it is worth noting here that its cousin, the crocodile, had a rare case of bonding with humans.
This crocodile was called Pocho. Experts believed it was born between 1950 and 1960. Pocho died in 2011.
What made Pocho a sensation was that it bonded with a human being. The owner, Gilberto “Chito” Shedden, was a local fisherman. He found Pocho dying on the banks of the Reventazón River. Instead of killing Pocho, Chito nursed it back to health.
The curious thing about it is that the crocodile did not want to go back to the wild. It wanted to stay with Chito. Eventually, they performed together, and they became a famous pair.
Pocho was shot in the head when Chito found him. It took Chito six months to nurse the crocodile back to health. Pocho lived by the water outside Chito’s home.
What made both famous was that Chito swam with Pocho, which was one of the most dangerous things one can do with a crocodile. Their relationship lasted for 20 years.
Experts believe that the crocodile had a damaged brain. It was shot in the head, and this damage could have affected its thinking. As such, it was no longer as aggressive as it should be.
So, the question remains: was it really a bond with a human? The most likely answer is not
How come some people have alligator pets?
Some people have alligator pets because they like exotic things. They want to do things out of the ordinary, and alligators are accessible in their areas. Some just want attention.
Some people, on the other hand, are part of a conservation group. These people know what they are doing. These pet gator keepers have the proper training to handle these dangerous animals.
Alligators cannot be tamed or domesticated. They are wild animals. It is possible to train alligators, but it will be an overreach if people say that they can be domesticated like dogs. While some people keep alligators as pets, it is not one that any random person should consider. Gators are opportunistic hunters. If they ever get hungry, they will not hesitate to eat their owners.