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Paging the Department of the Glaringly Obvious: Alligators Will Bite Your Head Off

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In the past week I've seen several videos of alligator wranglers in rather 'unfortunate' circumstances. The first, posted earlier this week on Animal Planet, shows Bob Freer of Homestead Florida in a tense encounter with a large gator. In watching the video, I was surprised to learn that when Freer was a young child, he was given a free baby alligator when his family filled their car up with gas at the town pump.

Next, a video released just yesterday from an alligator park in Thailand. Trainer Pravit Suebmee sustained bite wounds to his face and neck, but is expected to make a full recovery.

Lastly, one from the archives, along a similar theme.

I'm writing this post for a few reasons. As a biologist, I'm always a little shocked when humans pay such little respect to other members of the animal kingdom. Do we feel as though we are so far superior to massive predatory creatures that it makes sense to do things like put the most important part of our body into their jaws? Or could this be natural selection at work? Are these folks knowingly removing their DNA from the human gene pool? Whatever the reason, a good number of people find this kind of 'showmanship' entertaining. Let's just not be surprised when someone gets decapitated in front of an audience. Is this something you'd want your children to witness?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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