Alligator Trapping Just Doesn’t Pay Like It Used To

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In another quirky sign of the times, it’s probably smart to now scratch “alligator trapper” off your list of possible careers. Here’s a job that would never be described as easy. And because of rising gas prices, a falloff in the market for alligator meat and hides, and strapped government budgets that refuse to pay more for trappers to remove gators from backyards and other unwelcomed spots, the job doesn’t represent easy money either.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that veteran alligator trappers are hanging up their nets to pursue better-paying, and presumably safer, lines of work. For years, Florida has been paying trappers a flat $30 per gator removed or killed. To make a decent living, trappers had to then sell meat and hides of the captured crocs and gators. The problem is, hides that used to sell for $60 a foot are going for $15-a-foot in post-recession times.

Now, one thing alligator hunters have going in their favor is that they have jobs that are unlikely to be outsourced. While the need still exists, full-time gator hunters aren’t re-upping their contracts with the state. To fill in the gap, a slew of part-timers has taken to answering state requests to remove gators from many swamps and backyards.

Safe to say that the concept of an “amateur alligator trapper” or a “crocodile hunting enthusiast” doesn’t sound, well, safe. It’s also no way to get rich. Here’s some insight from a 34-year-old man who remodels homes and pools for a living and has begun hunting down gators on the side:

“It’s kind of crazy,” he said.

He thought alligator trapping would be an opportunity to hunt and make extra money. But he quickly discovered that he won’t get rich on gators.

Yes, regularly tangling with 10-foot gators sounds kind of crazy. And getting paid peanuts to do so sounds seriously crazy.

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