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The lengths that parents will go to create that ultra-special birthday party for their kids has hit a new high -- or low depending on how you look at it. The latest fashion in Florida is to hire an alligator from Alligator Adventure to swim with the kids at their pool party. As the company owner, Bob Barrett, has been gaining increasing attention for this service, people have been contacting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission concerned about the safety of such a practice.
For just $175, employees from the Madeira Facility will bring the alligator to homes in the Tampa Bay area and allow guests to swim and interact with the animal, and have their photo taken with them. The alligators used for the parties are small -- less than four feet long. The jaws are kept closed for the duration of the event. Before the event, party guests are briefed on safety precautions and are not allowed to mishandle or tease the animals. Still, there are people who complain about the possible dangers and bad parenting that they think come into play when planning such a party for the kids.
Investigators from the Commission inspected the Alligator Adventure facility on Wednesday and found no violations. While the parties operate well within the law, the Commission does not endorse or encourage such practices. Their concern is primarily for the welfare of the animals and people involved.
Barrett claims that part of the idea behind the parties is to use them as a venue for educating people about the reptiles and have them realize that they are not as bad as their reputation suggests.
Source: Tampa Bay Times
Laurie Kay Olson
Animal News Blogger