Alligator Rescue NJ
I will start by saying that we don’t do caiman and alligator rescue any more. We already have as many as we can handle. If you possess one of these animals in NJ you must have a permit. You cannot get a permit without a fairly good reason for having one and some experience in your background. So if you need to have one taken from you because you’ve made a mistake please DO NOT call us. Call NJ Fish & Wildlife and speak directly to them.
This poor Spectacled Caiman really got an overdose of kindness. He was owned by one person who thought that hot dogs would be a tastier food than dead mice and then was given to a second person who had read that caiman needed a lot of heat. So by the time he came to me, at about 3 years old, he had almost no bone strength from eating hot dogs that have no calcium, and then was almost cooked by his second owner.
This little gator had too many problems to list! Malnutrition being his primary problem he could fight off the myriad symptoms and died shortly after we received him.
Alligator Rescue– Healthy
This how a rescued gator should look! This is my buddy “Blue” who has been a reasonably loyal partner in our programs for nearly 20 years. Blue is our largest gator, at nearly 100 pounds and about 6 feet long. I’m the only one that works with him so I’m the only one he tolerates.
Many alligators can be worked with to become used to being handled. We have many that are used to teach with, but none are quite like Blue. Almost since the day we met, he and I have had an understanding and trust of each other. I don’t believe he cares for me, but he is willing to tolerate me and the work I ask him to do. I certainly have grown very fond of him.
It is common knowledge that when you work with reptiles, you may get bitten. They do not understand the changes of situations that a dog or cat wouldn’t care about and with that, they become nervous. A nervous animal is uncomfortable and may communicate it’s discomfort by biting. I accept this as part of the job. Blue has always been very patient, though he does get nervous.
Gators do not suffer from a great number of diseases, but when they do get sick it is often way beyond even the experienced reptile handler who does not have veterinary medical experience or access to a well qualified vet. We have had only one serious illness in one of our ponds and it took several months and multiple attempts to finally cure it. This makes Alligator Rescue truly a specialists’ field. Alligator rescue should be left to professionals. Their size and unpredictability when they become mature make them too dangerous for the novice.
I have worked with gators since I was 19 years old and I feel strongly that I understand them. Though I constantly remind myself and my instructors to always be aware of what the gator is looking at, hearing, smelling and feeling. That’s the best way to keep everyone safe and happy.