Junior develops a love for alligators


Maria Castillo

Junior Alanah Grisby describes herself as “the biggest alligator lover.” In the summer of 2017, Grisby had the chance to hold an actual alligaor at Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park in Florida

Cats, dogs, even horses. Ask kids their favorite animal, and these may be the most common answers. But what about alligators?
For junior Alanah Grisby her fascination and love for alligators began when she was 10.

Television shows like “Gator Boys” and videos online are the platforms that exposed her to the species. “My sister got me started on it,” Grisby said. “She would always watch stuff about alligators so I became interested.”

Like every person who has a crazy love for something, Grisby has a large collection of alligators. Figurines, stuffed animals and even pictures, anything that represents the large reptiles, she has it. “I have a lot of pictures on my phone. More pictures of them than anything.”

One of her favorite memories was going to Florida and being able to see alligators in person. “It was a dream come true.” Grisby was bummed when she wasn’t able to go to Gatorland but was grateful she at least got to experience Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park. She recalls being able to physically hold an alligator. “It was really cool holding him,” she said.
“I felt like the person working there because everyone was coming up and touching him while he was in my arms.” It was that moment when she realized what she would do with her life. “It brought me so much joy,” she said. “This is why I was put on this earth.”

Her dreams don’t stop there. Grisby’s passion for the animals have helped her plan out the rest of her life. “I’m going to go to college and major in zoology,” she said. “I plan on studying abroad in Africa and study the savannah safari.” After she earns her degree she would like to reside in Florida and work with alligators and other animals.

With alligators being her main focus, Grisby is an animal lover in general. “I want to help the animals that are endangered,” she said, adding that she dreams of opening an animal sanctuary one day.

“Alligators aren’t endangered, but of course they will be there!” Planning to help as many animals as she can she wants to go down in history as someone who made a difference.
Grisby wants to make people realize that alligators are not cold-blooded killers. “People think that they’re just going to kill you,” she said.

“Only if they are provoked, like may wild animals. They’ll think about it first, unlike crocodiles.” She goes on to explain the differences between crocodiles and alligators.“They have different mouth structures and alligators are able to feel love.”

While crocodiles will kill their own children, Grisby explains, alligators are able to express their love for their offspring She wants to let the world understand these misjudged creatures.