Lance LaCrosse of Airboat Adventures in Jean Lafitte, Louisiana has some tricks up his sleeve that few other tour guides in the state can match. LaCrosse was caught on video last month jumping off his boat and swimming with alligators in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park. In the footage, the 29-year-old can be seen hand feeding the reptiles pieces of chicken, and at one point puts a marshmallow in his mouth and lets an alligator take it off his lips. The video, taken by a passenger on one of Airboat Adventures’ tours, quickly gained attention on the internet. According to ABC News, it also caught the attention of local authorities.
Louisiana does not prohibit the feeding of wild alligators, but Jefferson Parish does. The Daily Mail reported that the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office received a formal complaint regarding the feeding incident, which allowed the agency to open an investigation. The video is currently under review by both the sheriff’s office and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
LaCrosse said there is a trick that makes the stunt safer than it looks.
“I keep my hand underneath their mouth,” he said regarding the alligators. “That way they can’t bite me in the face.”
But onlookers are not so convinced. Stacy Hicks, who videotaped the video now going viral on Facebook and YouTube, says that she and other passengers were concerned for LaCrosse’s life.
“When he had the second alligator coming up behind him, we were all a bit scared,” she told The Times-Picaynne.
LaCrosse admitted that he does get bitten occasionally and that he knows he can get seriously injured. Park officials also said that feeding any wild animal can train them to view humans as a source of food. This can be especially dangerous with large predators such as alligators.
You can see video of the feeding below: