Alligator Abuse

Here’s a weird, supposedly true tale of alligator abuse from Cleveland Moffett, who interviewed underwater salvage men for a book on dangerous careers, circa 1898.


"The Dutchman got me to help him catch an alligator one day. He said he could bring him up North and get a big price for him. Well, we noosed one after a whole lot of chasing in a lagoon, and kept him four or five weeks, but he wouldn't eat, and the boys all gave us the laugh. So the Dutchman got up a scheme to paint him white and put him back in the lagoon. His idea was that this white alligator would scare out all the other alligators, and then we'd capture mebbe twenty or thirty on the banks, and make our fortune."

He paused a moment with a twinkling eye, and Hansen snickered.

"Well, we done it. We painted that alligator white, and put him back in the lagoon, and you can shoot me if those other alligators didn't eat him. Yes, sir; they chewed him clean up before we'd hardly got the ropes off him."

"What did the Dutchman say?" asked Hansen, shaking with mirth.

"He stuck to it his idea was all right, but it was the blamed alligator's fault for being too weak with fasting to fight the ones as weren't painted, and he wanted somebody to help him catch another, but nobody would."



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