Even though alligators are the quintessential symbol of Florida, nearly 63,000 alligators were killed in the state between 2000 and 2012-simply for being too close to where humans live. But even with hunters gunning for them, wild alligators are still the lucky ones.
Throughout Florida, exhibitors court tourists by breeding alligators and jamming them into fetid pools. Alligators are forced to fight each other for the hot dogs that tourists dangle over their heads. Juvenile alligators have their mouths taped shut so that visitors can take home a souvenir photo.
Alligators have complex and multi-faceted lives. They communicate over wide areas and have elaborate courtship rituals.
Alligator mothers are among the most nurturing of reptiles. Babies stay with and are protected by their mothers for at least a year, sometimes up to three years. Mother alligators will respond immediately if one of the babies sounds a distress call. Alligators shun contact with humans and would rather flee than fight.
Floridians who care about animals should let out-of-town visitors know that buying a ticket to one of these awful outfits is directly supporting animal suffering.
PETA Foundation, Norfolk, VA