Alligator pool parties are the brainchild of Alligator Attraction operator Bob Barrett. To boost cash flow trade during the sagging economy, the entrepreneur came up with the idea of taking young alligators to residences and putting them in the swimming pool.
The reptile’s mouths are secured with electrical tape so the swimming kiddos are relatively safe, but sloshing around in chlorine may be harmful for the creatures, which have no say in becoming a birthday surprise. Although the teeth are the deadly part of a gator’s body, the swiftly moving tail of a startled reptile could also do some serious damage to a young child’s face.
Bob Barrett had this to say about the alligator birthday parties:
“Then, we had the idea of well if we do a home, and they have a pool, let’s put the gator in the pool. People were very leery at the beginning, but it has taken off and people just enjoy it. You’ve had the Chuck E. Cheese party. You’ve had the clown party. You’ve had the jump-a-roo bounce house party. Well, when you say you’re going to have a party, they go that’s nice. We’re gonna have a pool party. That’s nice. We’re gonna have a pool party with a ‘gator. Everybody comes.”
While it surely must be exciting for children to go swimming with reptiles, the safety of the creatures should be considered as well.
A recent reptile birthday party participant had this to say to WPTV about the experience:
“My friend and I were really scared of gators, but I’m not gonna be scared anymore because it’s cool that all the stuff I never knew, I’m starting to learn about.”
Learning about the creatures is a wonderful thing, but the unintended consequences of children losing a healthy respect and fear of the reptiles they may encounter in the wild could be deadly. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are now investigating Barrett’s business.