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Can Alligators and Crocodiles Be Pets?

Can Alligators and Crocodiles Be Pets?

No, alligators and crocodiles cannot be pets. They can be an attraction in a zoo where they are trained, but they cannot be a household pet.

Crocodiles and alligators are wild animals that cannot be domesticated. While some people have these reptiles as pets, people must not assume that they can also do what these exotic pet owners do.

Can you have an alligator or crocodile is a pet?

Crocodile attack
Crocodile attack

No, it is not likely that one can have crocodiles and alligators as pets. States and countries have strict laws about the ownership these animals.

This is not to say that one cannot have them at all. It only means that states must issue a permit to an individual to own either a crocodile or an alligator.

For example, in Florida, the state allows its citizens to secure a license to own alligators. To possess an alligator, one must have a Class II Personal Pet License. In addition to this, the license applicant must not have been convicted of any wildlife violation.

It is a tough process to get a license. The applicant must be able to show that he has at least one year and 1,000 hours of experience in handling crocs and alligators. The proof of this expertise has to be documented.

Related Article: Do Alligators and Crocodiles Have Good Eyesight?

Can an alligator or a crocodile be a good pet?

Brown and tan alligator
Brown and tan alligator

No, both crocodilian species cannot be a good pet. All crocodilians cannot be good pets because they cannot be tamed.

While crocodiles can be trained, they cannot be tamed. These two things are different from each other. A tamed animal knows how to live with humans. A trained animal will only follow orders, but will come back to its natural, wild instincts at any given time.

There are many facilities in the world where the people display what crocodiles can do. Many of these facilities have performers—they even put their heads inside the crocodile’s mouth!

Despite being professionals, handlers of these animals still get into an accident. Crocodiles and alligators are unpredictable.

There was this case of a man whose arm was crushed by a crocodile during a performance. Although this man was highly trained, not one expected that the crocodile would take a bite.

A crocodile or an alligator in a household is not a good idea. Children and pets are at risk. Crocodilians are manageable when they are young, but once they reach a size big enough, they pose a serious danger to anyone at home.

Related Article: Can Crocodiles and Alligators Live Together?

How come alligators and crocodiles are not good pets?

Orinoco Crocodile
Orinoco Crocodile

Alligators and crocodiles have small brains—these brains are hardwired to hunt. The instinct of both animals is to kill and eat.

Crocodilian brain is tiny compared to its adult body size. For example, an alligator that is 13 feet in length only has a brain that weighs only 11 grams.

What does this mean? It means that its capacity to learn is severely limited. Many smart animals have a brain that is huge in relation to its body size. For example, humans have larger brains than its primate ancestors.

Related Article: Do Alligators and Crocodiles Have Gills or Lungs?

Do crocodiles and alligators like to be pet?

Nile Crocodile

No, crocodiles and alligators do not like to be pet. There is this man who uses an alligator as a comfort animal, but then the way the alligator was presented was just dangerous.

According to the news, the alligator named Wally brings comfort to people, and that it wants to be petted. The thing is that alligators are really wild animals. While Wally is a support animal, the reality is that people are just “humanizing” it.

One day, Wally will grow really big and cause damage. Animals like this are only cuddly when small and manageable, but they are a terror once they mature to their full size.

Can a crocodile be friendly?

Alligator running on land
Alligator running on land

Only if their brain is damaged. There was a situation where there was a fisherman in Costa Rica called Chito who found an injured crocodile. They became friends for 20 years.

The fisherman could even swim with it. The crocodile, which was 17 feet long, did not hurt the fisherman. Chito, the fisherman, said that trust was developed between them.

Some people may find this heartwarming, and some were inspired, believing that a human and a crocodile can be friends.

What people do not realize is that when Chito found the croc, the croc had a brain injury. There were some people who shot the croc in the head, but the crocodile survived.

When Chito found it, the crocodile must have been suffering from brain damage. Chito nursed the croc, and it got back to good health. However, its brain was already damaged. It lost its aggression.

So, no—the crocodile and Chito did not trust with each other. The crocodile was just mentally incapable of being aggressive.

Can alligators and crocodilesbond with humans?

alligator

No, crocodiles and alligators cannot bond with humans. They do not have the complex emotional structure to do so.

One researcher named Vladimir Dinet said that after studying crocodiles for a decade, he found out that these animals are capable of play-like behavior.

The study revealed that crocodiles have three types of playful behavior. These are locomotor play, social play, and play with objects.

He also said that crocs and gators played with other animals. Dinet was able to observe a juvenile alligator playing with a river otter.

The study, however, is not enough to conclude that crocodiles and alligators can bond with humans. Perhaps these animals show curiosity when small.

As juveniles, they also know that they cannot attack a big animal, so playing with them makes much more sense. But when these crocs and gators get big, they will not hesitate attacking anything and anyone. 

Summary

Crocodiles and alligators cannot be pets. These animals are wild, and they have a small brain incapable of processing complex emotions and intelligence.

Crocodiles and alligators can be trained, but they can never be tamed. All crocodilian species are dangerous to human beings, and only a professional must consider them as part of his household, but never as a “pet.”

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