How to Wrestle an Alligator

I said I would post things like this, so here you go, but read the warning and don’t be “that guy”, you know the one who has to prove he has balls cause he’s not really sure. And ladies, this technique will work for you as well if you need to save someone but you don’t have anything to prove here either.


Consider this situation—you’re on Spring Break with the person of your dreams in balmy Florida and you’ve just added the finishing touched to the mesquite steaks and vegetable skewers for the grill when you hear your dearest start to scream from out near the pool area.

You put the steaks back in the marinade with a splash, and run around the patio to see what the hell is going on.

And what do you see? There is a bleeding alligator waddling up to the individual you are planning to wine and dine, and the only way to save him or her is to wrestle the cold-blooded terror into submission.

Something they can’t do themselves due to a fully understandable fear of freaking Florida predators.

So okay, now you have to subdue an alligator. Please check your sanity at the door. This is the love of your life here and there is no time to call animal control even if you hadn’t left your cell in your other shorts.

And that brings us to the craziest bit, you need to be on the gator’s back.

Without a doubt, oh modern knight errant, the most perilous part of this whole whacko venture is getting on an alligator’s back.

BUT you never ever want to attempt to assault an alligator from the sides or from the front – you know the bit with all the teeth. Doing so is the easiest way to earn yourself a Darwin Award.

No, you want to approach the alligator from behind. If possible, it’s great to have someone distract the gator so it does not turn on you. Having your partner keep screaming will probably do the trick.

However, if that’s not possible for some odd reason, take off your shirt and use it as a blindfold. (If you happen to be a lady reading this, go for it. Even if you are braless. Remember your love is in danger here and utility comes before social mores every single time. Throw your shirt on the top of the gator’s head, making sure to cover its eyes. If you don’t have a shirt, use a pool towel, picnic table cloth, or tarp. Like any animal, once you obscure it’s vision the alligator is much slower to react.

Imagine a straight line down the alligator’s head and back, and tail if possible. This is your runway. Then – and DO NOT HESITATE- get a serious running start down your runway and, trying to stay low, jump onto the gator with hands extended forward. Ideally, you are going to want your hands to land at the alligator’s neck, between the back of its jaws and the forelegs.

When you do make contact, push down with all your might on the neck to force the head to the ground. You want your alligator to be fully faceplanted.

Alligators jaws are hinged exactly the same way yours is. More simply, the bottom jaw moves but the top does not. By pinning the head to the ground, you’re preventing the jaws from opening.

If you landed well, then you should be fairly high on the gator’s back, near the front shoulders. Your knees should be touching the ground and squeezing the gator’s flanks. The lower part of your legs should be pinning the hind legs while keeping the feet from touching the ground.

Keeping the rear legs splayed and away from the ground helps prevent the alligator from “death rolling” (spinning around violently). When an alligator does this, you’ve lost control and you’ve lost the fight.

Now you must get control of the mouth. Think of your mother-in law.

Once you are astride the alligator, it’s vital to gain control of it’s mouth. Both of your hands should still be firmly on the alligator’s neck, pressing down hard with your full body weight.

TIP: you probably can’t hurt the animal but it can must assuredly hurt you. All your strength means all your strength, but form is more important as doing it incorrectly will equal a probable death.

Next, you are going to want to rotate your dominate hand (right or left) forward. Don’t pick up your hand but firmly keep pressing down as you slide the hand forward down the center of the alligator’s head.

The end goal here is to cover both of it’s eyes with your hand. Oddly, alligators will retract their eyes into the skull, so with any luck just touching the orbs should be enough. Again, you’re blinding the animal to give yourself the advantage.

Now, press down on the eyeballs with all your weight. Make sure that you are still pinning the head to the ground in order to prevent its jaws from opening.

Then, slide your other hand forward and down and run it along the bottom jaw line. DO NOT HESITATE or lift your hand from the gator’s skin.

You are going to want to put your fingers under the alligator’s jaw where you’ll feel soft skin around bone. With fingers under the jaw and palm and thumb on top, grip firmly.

All of an alligator’s jaw strength is on the down stroke. Alligators have almost no muscle power at all when it comes to actually opening their jaws. In theory, what that means and the reason people can wrestle gators to begin with is that you can hold the animal’s mouth shut with one hand.

That doesn’t mean that you should hold it closed with one hand, though.

Instead, while still keeping the head pinned to the ground, slide the hand covering the gator’s eyes down to the jawline until you can hook that hand under the lower jaw as well. Both hands should now be holding the mouth shut.

Now go for the shade of Mr. Gray know as the submission hold.

You want to lift the alligator’s head off the ground and pull it back toward your chest arcing it’s back. With it’s head at close to a ninety degree angle, the alligator can no longer fight back.

And now here come’s the hard part.

Once your partner has made it to a point of safety – a good distance away and preferable behind a door, fence, or wall, you are going to have to let the gator go and get away.

If possible have your partner get help or call for help. Use 911. This IS NOT the time for male pride. Period.

And get away quickly.

Alligators can run faster than humans in many conditions.

So try not to panic – you have not thus far – and push the alligator’s head back to the ground. Press it down firmly.

Then slide – do not lift – the dominant hand back into a position where it fully cover’s the gator’s eyes.

Keep pushing down hard with dominant hand on the gator’s eyeballs and slide your other hand back along the jaw until it is pressing against the neck. Slide your dominant hand back from the eyes to the neck.

You should be in the same position now that you were in when you first began this rodeo.

Next, take your knees off the ground and get your feet under you, so you’re squatting on the gator’s back. Make sure you keep your legs tight against the alligator’s body. When the gator struggles, push down again hard. Do not let it get free of your hands, whatever you do.

Now, grip the animal around the neck an in one motion, throw the alligator as far forward as you can while you jump back.

Depending on how much the gator weighs, you may not be able to throw it very far. That’s fine as that is not the real point of the exercise. The goal is to catch the gator off balance thus giving yourself more time to escape.

Jump back as far as you can, and then keep moving backward. Do not turn around or stop however as that may cause you to fall.

The alligator will turn and open its mouth at you and snarl or hiss. Let it. That is absolutely fine. Keep your eyes on it and slowly back away.

If the alligator escalates from a noise level to actually chasing you, run directly away from it in a straight line. Try to get inside a house or behind a way but do not turn or zigzag in order to do so. Alligators are faster than people but they will also grow tired more quickly.

And that is how you wrestle an alligator.

Don’t do this ever if you can help it. Again saving a life is one thing, showing off is simply idiocy.


6 thoughts on “How to Wrestle an Alligator

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