Everyone knows that dogs and cats love a good scratch under their chins—but apparently, so do one of the world’s most notoriously ferocious beasts.
A video posted to Instagram by California’s The Reptile Zoo has gone viral on the app for showing two alligators enjoying one of their favorite activities: getting chin scratches from their brave human handler.
“These are my pet gators,” the handler says. “They love their chin scratches.”
The two alligators cheerfully lean their heads over the edge of the tank. Meanwhile, their handler sticks one hand under each of their chins and gives them a thorough scratching. She pulls her hands away, however, when the alligator on the left appears to go for her hand, nearly nipping it.
“They are just looking for food,” she adds. “I don’t have any tonight. Maybe tomorrow, boys.”
The video, which now has over 66,000 likes on the app, has caused strong reactions among viewers.
“She was the food!” wrote one user.
“This is why I don’t get why people get sad when accidents happen,” said another.
Countless others, however, found the video endearingly wholesome.
“They are adorable & this is my dream job,” wrote one Instagram user.
Several more comment on the gators’ apparent “smiles,” which make them look more like goofy, grinning cartoons than the menacing, wild beasts that they are.
The Reptile Zoo is a Southern California-based educational facility that specializes in reptiles, arachnids, and amphibians. They’ve gained a following of 585,000 on Instagram for highlighting animals in their collection in informative, and sometimes shocking, videos.
One of their most popular posts, from February, has gained 842,000 likes and shows the handler with an almost iridescent, rainbow-black snake wrapping itself around her body. She says the reticulated python is currently twelve feet, but it could double in size as it grows.
Another, with nearly 400,000 likes, features the handler assisting snake eggs as they hatch. Cutting the shell open with scissors, she offers viewers a glimpse into a baby snake’s birth in real-time.
As easy as The Reptile Zoo’s handlers make it seem, getting cozy with potentially dangerous creatures, and alligators in particular, is never recommended. With their volatile and often unpredictable behavior, gators are known to attack humans and cause serious injuries.
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