A Florida woman recorded the moment she fed dinner to one of the alligators at Gatorland, in Orlando, Florida.
Savannah Boan, a former U.S. Marine, signals to the gator that her food is ready.
She yells ‘Up,’ to get the reptile up on two legs and throws the meat into her mouth.
The gator devours it almost instantly.
Later in the video, she holds her hand over the nose of another gator -aptly named Jaws – to calm him down before feeding time.
Savannah Boan presents the female alligator with a tasty meal. When she yells ‘Up,’ the gator gets up on two legs as she leans up the wall to get the meat
Boan flings the meat at the gator , who catches the meal and finishes it in an instant
Later in the video, Boan preps Jaws the alligator for a meal. She places her hand over his head to calm the excited gator
As Crocodilian Enrichment Coordinator, Boan works to keep the animals happy and healthy
Boan cares for more than 2,500 reptiles
Boan serves as the Crocodilian Enrichment Coordinator at Gatorland, where she spends her time working with 2,500 alligators and crocodiles to keep their minds sharp and bodies active.
She has an unshakable bond of trust and friendship with the. Besides Jaws, they include Bullit – a three-legged alligator – and Pearl, an alligator with leucism or loss of pigmentation.
Not only is Boan in her dream job, but she is also able to travel to other parts of the world to help the animals and reframe the public’s perception.
Boan previously worked at Reptile Zoo in Fountain Valley, California, before she joined Gatorland in 2016.
‘My job involves so many different and amazing things from hanging out with guests in the park and talking to them about the animals we care for, to speaking with professors and academics,’ Boan said.
‘I am honored and blessed to be able to go to work with the most amazing animals on the planet! Animals that have survived for so long. The animals, all different and unique, make my entire life complete. It makes every day the best day!’
Boan has close contact with the animals, but knows that she always need to remain vigilant.
‘Reptiles are challenging in the way that they take time. Building trust with reptiles is instrumental.
Boan watches over the animals from hatchlings to old age. She says she works hard to build trust with the animals
Boan enjoys holding younger crocodiles and alligators. An average gator can weigh nearly 1,000 pounds and crocodiles can weigh twice as much
Boan records her time with the reptiles as a means to curb the public’s perception that they can only be dangerous
Boan says she can never be complacent with the animals, believing that they are smarter than they appear
‘I don’t mean to say I trust them, I never do, but to have them trust me is very special. Dogs and cats are wonderful animals, I really love them all, but they trust and bond much quicker it seems.
‘Reptiles make you put in hard work and time, but in the end it is 100% worth it.
‘The thing about relationships with crocodilians is that you’re only ever going to know your side of the relationship. I will never completely understand their intent.
‘I can never completely trust them or become complacent. I believe they have a little more going on upstairs than most would believe, that is my opinion based my daily observations.’
Boan is the only female handler at Gatorland and visitors are often surprise to see a woman handling the huge animals.
‘When the guests see me people kind of freak out a little bit because our alligators are so gigantic, that and I think much of it is because I am a woman doing it and you definitely don’t see that very often,’ she said.
‘Their personalities all seem to be different, they like different staff members better than others, they have different favorite foods, some like to fight and some like to hide. It’s so fascinating getting to know them. I feel so incredibly honored to spend my days with them.
‘I have come so far in my life by working extremely hard at every thing I do. There have been times in my life that I have had absolutely nothing and even in that time of sadness I busied myself writing my first TedTalk.’
Boa added that she wants to change the public’s opinion so that crocodiles and alligators are not seen as ‘bloodthirsty beasts’.