The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Serita Jakes


Star, Animal Planet’s Gator Boys with co-star Jimmy Riffle

Airs Sundays at 9 pm

UMass, Psychology

Accomplished triathlete


Gator Boys Star on Rescuing Alligators 

Paul grew up in Massachussets and attended a Catholic high school.  He remembers always being fascinated with wildlife; especially dangerous species.  He caught his first rattlesnake at the age of 12. After high school, Paul, a triathlete, followed the warm weather so he could train and “couch surfed,” (sleeping on couches of friends who lived in warm weather).  In Florida, Paul started working with sharks.  “I liked working with them but I would get deathly sea sick.”  Then a friend recommended that Paul start working with aligators.  Because of his experience handling reptiles, Paul worked in TV and film with animal handling services.  “People were always bugging me to do a show,” he says.

Local residents don’t always know who to call when they spot a gator.  Sometimes they will call the police, but essentially all nuisance gator calls go to the Nuisance Alligator Hotline.  In Florida, residents are somewhat used to seeing alligators, but sometimes they get in houses or swimming pools or may end up on a beach (gators are not tolerate of seawater).  Operators at the hotline contact a local trapper and fax a permit for him to remove the reptile and Paul works for the a trapper.  If the alligator could potentially harm a human or be harmed, Paul says the trapper gets issued an e-gator permit, or an emergency gator permit.  Otherwise, the trapper heads over to the gator siting once he receives the permit.  “Sometimes they’re gone by the time we get there,” says Paul.  The defend blameless wildlife displaced by urban sprawl and keep people safe.

Animal Planet's Gator Boys follows Paul and Jimmy around and films. This season you'll see Paul and Jimmy wrangling gators in Mississippi mud. “There are thousands of hours of me catching nothing but you won't see that in the show,” he says.  Residents, who are spooked by alligators on their property, call the Gator Boys for help.  The show airs on Sunday nights at 9 pm on Animal Planet.

Wrestling alligators is highly dangerous.  The American alligator inhabits freshwater wetlands, such as marshes and cypress swamps from the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina to the Everglades in Florida.  It is distinguished from the American crocodile by its broader snout, with overlapping jaws and darker coloration and is tolerant of colder climates.  Alligators are predators and consume fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.  In 1973, alligators were listed as an endangered species but conservation efforts have allowed their numbers to increase and were removed from the list in 1987.  Today gators are harvested for their skins and meat.  They are the official state reptile of Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.  Gators can live 30 – 50 years and average 11 feet in length, weighing anywhere between 200 – 500 pounds. Their teeth number from 74-84 and their bite measures over 2,000 lbf (pound force).  They are capable of biting through a turtle’s shell or moderately sized mammal bone.  Thus, alligator bites are serious injuries due to the sheer force and risk of infection even with medical treatment.

Paul says before he can wrestle a gator, he and Jimmy tire him out so he can grab him.  “It takes about 10 minutes to wear them out,” he says.  He has been bitten 30 times and in the head 5 times.

Growing up in Catholic school, Paul, a devout Christian today, says nothing appealed to him.  One day some friends introduced him to healing through God’s power.  “It opened my eyes,” he says.

  • Translate
  • Print Page

Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.