Is the popular show “Gator Boys” fake? Or is Gator Boys real?  State wildlife officials are saying the group of alligator wrestlers and rescuers have used captive alligators to reenact scenes of the show.

Is the popular show “Gator Boys” fake? Or is Gator Boys real?  State wildlife officials are saying the group of alligator wrestlers and rescuers have used captive alligators to reenact scenes of the show.

In other words, at least according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the show may not as real as it appears to be.  And they also seem to think the Gator Boys perform high risk techniques they would never let their officers use.

From the SunSentinel:

They tackle South Florida‘s most stubborn alligator problems, seizing the giant lizards from pools and golf courses in feats filmed for a reality show that airs on Animal Planet.

But the Gator Boys have also seized the attention of state wildlife officers, who say the team appears to have staged at least part of their show using captive alligators and used dangerous methods to handle them.

Paul Bedard, one of the two trappers, said none of the show was faked. He said they reenacted a couple of events for promotional commercials. He attributed the state’s review to irritation that he allowed the captures to be filmed without first informing the agency.

The show, which premiered Jan. 1 and airs Sunday evenings, follows Bedard and younger colleague Jimmy Riffle as they go on nuisance alligator calls from their base at Everglades Holiday Park in western Broward County. Unlike typical trappers, who kill the alligators for their meat and hides, the Gator Boys release them unharmed into the wild.

The show whips up the drama with dustups among the various characters who work with Riffle and Bedard, including a volunteer named Ashley whose enthusiasm exceeds her ability. [“When Ashley endangers her life in the gator pit, Jimmy accuses Chris of poor training methods,” states the online episode guide. “As tempers flare they must work through the anger and do a seminar or ruin their reputation.”]

Lindsey Hord, coordinator of the nuisance alligator program for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the inquiry started when a wildlife officer encountered Bedard and Riffle at a restaurant on U.S. 27 in Broward County reenacting a previous capture.

“They told the officer they were using a captive alligator,” he said. “Apparently they were reenacting an incident that supposedly occurred with an alligator on the grounds.”

The use of captive alligators is troubling, he said, given the dangerous techniques they use, such as wading into the water with the alligators and wrestling with them.

“Our nuisance alligator trappers are required to use safe handling techniques,” he said. “All that wrestling they do, getting in the water with gators, is all potentially dangerous and we would not allow our nuisance alligator trappers to do that sort of thing. If these are captive alligators they’re handling, they’re different from the wild ones. They’re not as afraid of people as a wild one would be. We hope people don’t watch this show and say I see how they do it, and try it with wild alligators.”

Although Bedard said that incident was reenacted for a commercial, Riffle said it was one of a few incidents staged for the show. “For some of the catches, some of them are reenactments,” he said. “But 95 percent of the show is legit.”

Bedard said they use wild alligators only and their methods are more humane that the huge hooks and lines used by traditional trappers.

“I’d rather catch them by hand than with a rope and a hook,” he said. “It’s more animal friendly…. If we have a gator in a pool, I don’t want to put a rope around him and drag him out because he’ll smash his face up.”

Katie Purcell, spokeswoman for the wildlife commission’s law enforcement division, said the focus of the inquiry was on the handling of alligators.

“In the episodes currently being shown, their actions aren’t in line with our standard procedures for safely handling nuisance alligators,” she said. “We are reviewing the episodes to ensure that the species is being managed appropriately.”

Patricia Kollappallil, Animal Planet’s vice president for communications, said the channel would look into the show’s practices.

“Animal Planet’s top concern is for the safety and well-being of the animals in Gator Boys,” she wrote in an email. “Our interest in airing the show is because animals were being rescued. We are not aware of any violations but, of course, will be looking into it.”

So… is the Gator Boys fake?  Obviously not.  Paul Bedard and the other alligator rescuers do a wonderful FREE service for the public.  And they have been doing it for years.  Bedard and Riffle  have been handling alligators for over 20 years each.  They are experts even if their actions aren’t in line with with the standard procedures for safety handling nuisance alligator as defined by the state.  Is it possible the Gator Boys know more and are better at it?

And they are entertainers.  They do an alligator wrestling “show” at Everglades Holiday Park.  People want to see things that are… or appear to be… risky.  I remember as a little kid watching Evel Kenevel jump his motocycle over rows of cars, busses and a shark tank in Las Vegas.  Heck, he even attempted to jump across the Snake River in some sort of a rocket.  Was Evel Kenevel in compliance with the state Division of Motor Vehicle rules and regulations?  Should he have been stopped simply because what he was doing was dangerous to himself? If so, then I’m sure the X Games will be outlawed next.

And here’s the real issue:  Who is the state protecting… the alligators or the Gator Boys?  If the Gator Boys methods are as humane – or more humane – than the state’s… is the state trying to protect the Gator Boys from themselves?  And do we really want that as a “free” society?

For more about the Gator Boys and videos go here:  Gator Boys

Update to this article…

Gator Boys Paul Bedard Charged With Illegal Alligator Possession.


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12 Responses to “Gator Boys” Fake? Investigated By State For Reenacting Scenes

  1. Yvonne Smith says:

    Hi guys, I have been watching your show and it brings back memories. I used to live in the everglades.My grandpa ran the airboats for BIG CYPRESS BEND on 41. It was across from an Indian village,I cant remember the name but one of the sons there was my uncles best friend and his name was stoney.When I was younger I used to catch baby alligators for fun.I really enjoy watching your show. Where is your place located? Im try to pay attention but you dont show it long for me to see whats around. Thanks for what you do and I would love to hear back from you. Thanks again Yvonne. PS LOL My older son lives in Bonita Springs and would love to come and see you guys.

    • Matt says:

      Hey Yvonne! We are not the Gator Boys. This is John “King of the Everglades” Pate’s site. John is an everglades bass fishing guide and knows the Gator Boys. A lot of John’s bass fishing clients go out with him and then watch the Gator Boys show and take an airboat ride. The Gator Boys alligator rescue and alligator wrestling shows are at Everglades Holiday Park. Here is a link to everglades Holiday Park:

  2. lindsey says:

    Is there anyway to contact the gator boys or even a “tell us how much you enjoy our show” place? I would really like to tell them how much i appreciate them for what they’re doing.

  3. Dietsch says:

    Regardless of what negative publicity your show or your techniques are receiving. Love the show. What I do know is regardless of the show there is always going to be someone or some group, private entity, city or state that has to complain (I say go do your 9-5 job and leave the Gator Boys alone). I don’t hear any complaining about the show where they shot the gators in the head to make a living. Love the show, keep it up.

  4. J Walker says:

    How ridiculous! The state of Fla. has a group who rescues gators in an humane manner and removes dangers from it’s citizens. Why must they try to change something that works so well? Paul and Jimmie I hope you can continue with your work. It is necessary and has a place in this world.

  5. Chris says:

    Some folks are jumping on this Fish/Game report to claim the show is fake or staged. Even if the GBs did reenact a couple scenes for a commercial, there is nothing “fake” when dealing with an alligator…captive or wild. A captive alligator is still a wild animal and is unpredictable; injury or death is a possibility if you don’t know what you’re doing.

    What’s ironic is listening to wildlife and conservation officers complain about the dangerous techniques the GBs use in order to save these animals lives. Most anyone can go out and trap/snare and kill a gator; the fact that these guys use humane methods to limit even an injury is indicative of the skills they possess. Sure it’s also entertainment…only because it’s dangerous and unpredictable, but the GBs have looked like nothing but professionals as I’ve watched the series.

    • Daniel says:

      I’m glad i’m not the only other one that feels the same way you do about it, some people don’t realize some (but of course, not all) reality shows are real, the ones that are fake are obvious fakes, unlike this show, which is, in their own words, 95% real: “Although Bedard said that incident was reenacted for a commercial, Riffle said it was one of a few incidents staged for the show. “For some of the catches, some of them are reenactments,” he said. “But 95 percent of the show is legit.””

  6. ashley says:

    The state of Florida as well as any person with half a heart would and should feel proud of the human work they’re doing! Seriously….is the state of Florida serious about this? ? Did anyone see the episode where Paul searched and refused to give up on finding and no doubt saving a baby alligator with its mouth taped shut? And to me it looked like another trapper caught the animal then it got away and they said oh well we tried. Does that sound more humane than Paul searching relentlessly for that alligator to save it? Yes Paul is a hard head sometimes but no one who’s ever seen the show can say he doesn’t truly love the gators and what he does. No one can do anything good in this country anymore without our sorry government trying to control it. When we as a people scrutinize truly good people who really care. And we wonder why our country is the way it is now???

  7. gaby says:

    the gator boys are not fake i luv them i am having them at my birthday party they are real i even met them they are so cool AND NO ONE IS GOING TO TAKE THAT AWAY FROM THEM PLUS THEY MOSTLY LOOK LIKE THE KING OF THE EVERGLADES

  8. I was wondering what the gator boys think of the shows from Louisiana where They hook the gators than shoot them in the head. It makes me sick. I have watched it just because of the danger factor but I am not a fan.

  9. Matt says:

    I can’t speak for the Gator Boys… but I either heard on a show or read in an interview Paul commenting on the people who kill the gators. He didn’t sound pleased.

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