Which Four New England States Allow Alligators as Pets?
Crocs are the rage these days, but the kind you wear on your feet and not the ones with the steel-like jaws and big sharp teeth that would just as soon swallow you whole than look at you.
The classic 1953 Walt Disney animated feature Peter Pan includes the song "Never Smile at a Crocodile" by Frank Churchill and Jack Lawrence, and it seems to be sage advice.
It should also apply to alligators.
Crocodiles and alligators suffer from permanent bad moods, so you should keep your distance and not even consider owning one as a pet.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts makes it easy to resist adopting a croc or a gator. State law says, "You cannot have any crocodilian species in your possession in Massachusetts," including alligators, crocodiles, caimans and gavials.
According to World Population Review.com, "Florida allows for the ownership of alligators with a license." The site says other states that allow alligator ownership with a permit include Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri and Texas.
Online Field Guide writer Andrew Morgan says, "Alligators cannot be domesticated as they have strong instincts, unpredictable behavior, and grow too large for a typical home environment."
Morgan says, "Although some training and bonding can be achieved, it is not practical or safe to keep them as pets."
Male alligators reach lengths of 10 to 15 feet or more and have a long lifespan, often exceeding 50 years. Morgan says, "Alligators have specific environmental requirements that are difficult to replicate in a domestic setting."
National Geographic says, "A rise in the abandoned reptiles around the United States - including two recently (2020) found in a Kansas creek - has raised concern among experts."
The publication cites "the often problematic, yet not widely known, phenomenon of keeping pet American alligators, which are native to the U.S. Southeast."
National Geographic says, "There are likely 5,000 (alligators) in Michigan; at least 50 in Phoenix, Arizona; and as many as 52 of the prehistoric reptiles are surrendered to the City of Chicago each year."
If you live in Rhode Island you can keep your gator, but if you move to Massachusetts it's "see ya later, alligator."