February 23, 2018

The dental nurse who became an alligator catcher

crocodialChristy Kroboth gave up her career as a dental nurse to focus on animals with a lot more teeth – alligators. When she started training as an alligator catcher she was the only woman in her class, but – as she describes here – that made her even more determined to show she could jump on an animal many times her size, and tape its jaws tightly shut.
When I first got my licence I was only doing this as a hobby, I’d go to work as a dental assistant and catch my alligators on the side.
But I got well known for taking the alligators alive, and I’m now doing this as my full time job.
I’ve been a true animal lover all my life. I blame it on my mom. When we were little she was the one that would stop the car, pull over, and help turtles and ducks cross the road. We took in all the strays – cats, dogs, whatever needed a home.
I’d never even touched an alligator before and for a split second I thought, ‘I can’t do this’
Where I live in the south part of Texas we have a lot of alligators and there are these big master-plan communities that have manmade ponds and these ponds have alligators in them.
The homeowners are so afraid that they’re going to eat their kids and that they’re going to eat their dogs, but in the past 100 years we’ve only had one person killed by an alligator, so it’s all just superstition.
These alligators have been around since the dinosaurs. They’re great for the ecosystem, they keep all the aquatic life in check. They’re actually really shy animals and they don’t want to hurt anybody.
But people think of these guys as monsters. They have this vision in their head, and when I noticed this I thought, “What can I do to help change people’s mindset?”
You can’t just go out and catch an alligator because alligators are protected by the state here in Texas. You have to have a special licence and a permit.
I registered to be an alligator hunter with Texas Parks and Wildlife and we had to go through a whole training course.
I was the only girl in the class and also the youngest. We had to go through the rules, laws and regulations, and then the trainer told us: “OK, you’ve all passed the paperwork, now let’s go do this hands-on.”
I’d never even touched an alligator before and for a split second I thought, “I can’t do this.” I called my mom and I said, “Mom, I can’t do this!” And, of course, mom is like, “Come home right now, don’t do it!”
But something told me: “I have to do this – not only for the alligators, but to prove to these big ol’ country boys that I can.”
I ran out to the pond, got the alligator, taped him up and ended up passing the test. It was one of the happiest moments of my life and that adrenaline rush lasted the whole day.

Related posts