I don't have any experience taking care of reptiles so obviously I wouldn't want a gator as a pet. But I might have children in the future and what if they find alligators so fascinating and even see baby alligators that are being sold? (I am using an example of 2 children)

There are 2 main questions that I would need to ask them. One of them is the obvious "Do you really want an alligator as a pet?" The other is the not so obvious "Do you have any experience with reptiles?"

There are so many possibilities here. The children could say "No we don't want a gator as a pet but we have handled gators at the zoo after school." or "Yes we want a gator and we have had experience with gators." or "No we don't want a gator and we haven't had any experience with reptiles." or "Yes we want a gator but we haven't had any experience with reptiles." It gets even more complicated if the children are of different ages and thus 1 has handled reptiles and the other hasn't and/or if 1 wants a gator and the other doesn't. This leads to at least 16 possibilities.

The other bad thing is that I haven't found anything really comprehensive about raising alligators. I search on google for "How to raise an alligator" and what do I get? I get very few that actually go into how to raise gators. Most talk about raising caimans or reptiles in general(and only go into minor detail about the alligator) and of the ones that do talk about raising gators, most are not comprehensive enough for someone who really wants to raise gators.

A third bad thing is that I am in Ohio. I don't know of anybody who raises gators in this cold state.

So what should I tell my children if they really do want an alligator and have had experience with reptiles? Should I tell them that I can't get a gator for them since there isn't much I can find about raising gators? Or should I tell them that they can have a gator but they have to be very careful since even young gators can give someone a deadly bite?

  • I have owned many reptiles, including some decent sized pythons. Even with years of experience, I have been bitten. There is no way to avoid it and even a bite from a small python is a very unpleasant experience. I have no experience with crocodilians, but I shudder at the thought of what even a small alligator bite could do. Children have no place being near an animal like that.
    – Keltari
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 12:36
  • Yeah. While most alligator attacks are from adult alligators(and most of those are from female alligators), even a small alligator can give you a deadly bite if it isn't treated asap because while the bleeding might not be so bad from a small alligator bite it can still cause severe infections.
    – Caters
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 13:42
  • 2
    Again, your lack of knowledge is showing. All crocodilians bite. Alligators have one of the strongest bite forces on the planet. Even a baby gator will do a lot of damage. Im going to be perfectly frank. You have no business having an alligator.
    – Keltari
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 13:53
  • Yeah. The only crocodilians that I know of that have a stronger bite force than alligators are crocodiles. While caimans might have a weaker bite force and are much smaller than an alligator they are generally said to be more aggressive than alligators but less aggressive than crocodiles. Yet most people reccomend caimans if you want a crocodilian partly because they are legal in more places and also because of the weaker bite force. But why would they reccomend caimans to people who want crocodilians when alligators are more common and docile?
    – Caters
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 14:00
  • 1
    Caimans do not usually grow large enough to rip limbs off. Alligators do. If you don't plan to care for an animal for its entire life (up to 50 years for a 'gator) you should not be keeping that animal. And I really doubt that the kids have any idea what they're asking for; it's your responsibility to understand and explain that no matter how kind they are to it, it will never be tame and never be safe... and never be legal in any case. Get an iguana... or research other options. The thing you tell your kids is "no".
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 19:08

2 Answers 2


Tell your children that wildlife should be kept in the wild.


Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful to possess a dangerous wild animal after Jan. 1, 2014. Persons in possession of dangerous wild animals prior to Oct. 1, 2013, must obtain a permit in order to keep the animal(s) after Jan. 1, 2014. The definition of wild animal includes, but is not limited to: hyenas; gray wolves, excluding hybrids; lions; tigers; jaguars; leopards; cheetahs; cougars; bears; elephants; rhinoceroses; hippopotamuses; African wild dogs; Komodo dragons; alligators; crocodiles; caimans, excluding dwarf caimans; black-handed, white-bellied, brown-headed and black spider monkeys; common woolly monkeys; red, black and mantled howler monkeys.

  • 1
    But some people still get pet gators even this year. I have read that with appropriate licensing you can still get pet gators but only from an alligator farm. Sure taking alligators from the wild to raise them might have been made illegal but that doesn't mean that buying gators from an alligator farm is illegal.
    – Caters
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 11:01
  • @Caters - Penning non-domesticated animals is a crime against nature. Penning any animal is questionable in and of itself.
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 13:38
  • People get tired of pet gators every year too, when they get big enough to be aggressive. Bad idea..
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 13:39
  • @Mazura so you are basically saying that if my potential children want an alligator that my children, me, and somebody else in my family(might be potential husband, might be my father, might be my mother, might be my grandma, might be my grandpa(I will never be able to drive because of my slow reaction time)) should travel to the southeastern united states to see alligators and just how dangerous they can be?
    – Caters
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 18:36

Alligator is inappropriate from many points of view. Consider an iguana or something like that -- herbivorous, maximum size still managable. Or there are smaller lizards which have a more crocodilian look to them but won't become dangerous.

Kids need to learn how to make real-world choices, including recognizing a bad idea before it hurts them or they are forced to hurt it. But that's a topic for the Parenting stack.

  • 1
    Other lizards to consider: tegu, caiman lizard (distinct from caiman), some of the monitors (ideally the smaller ones like the timor or tree), or heck, even the little alligator lizard, which looks neat but remains tiny. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 16:23

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