Chris Gillette (@gatorboys_chris) is an expert at handling, conserving, and caring for alligators. He helps rescue gators and is extremely passionate about their welfare and conservation.
Chris is famous for his videos (see on Instagram and Youtube) where he handles large alligators like someone would their pet cat. He calls them over and feeds them. He gently talks to them and cajoles them. And Chris will even get in the water with his gators. He has worked with them for years and trained them to follow his commands.
Chris grew up playing with animals and spending time in nature as a child in Florida. “I got bigger and the things I was playing with got bigger,” he explains. Much bigger.
But Chris is not some side-of-the-highway alligator wrestler. He is a serious thinker on issues like animal conservation and invasive species. He has a bachelors of science in Environmental Studies from Florida International University and has published multiple academic papers in the world of invasive species biology.
Chris is quick to point out that all of his gators are adult gators that were rescued. They came in as “nuisance gators” who were too close to humans and someone called the authorities. And while other trappers kill these gators, Chris brings them to a center to protect them. At the Everglades Outpost he runs underwater gator tours where people can actually get in the water with them. And he runs gator shows at Everglades Holiday Park.
It was so cool to get the chance to speak with Chris about the work he does and I hope you enjoy the conversation!