Swimming with Alligators

Daredevil Christopher Gillette writhes around with a huge alligator he has saved from death. He works at a Florida sanctuary that rescues the wild beasts if they stroll into neighbourhoods where residents can legally kill them. To raise cash for the centre at Homestead, staff put on shows to feed and wrestle the alligators. Photographer John Chapa, 41, and girlfriend Adriana Canargo, 30, took these shots.

He said: “Gators only eat once a week and are placid. They know what is and is not food but they are in no regard tame – you cannot tame a gator. If a gator shows up at somebody’s house or at a BBQ or anywhere else in the state of Florida more than a couple of times then the state will deem it a nuisance. There are around 7,000 nuisance alligators reported each year and legally people can then just go out and kill that animal. Chris and Ashley will then try to rescue it by hand to avoid hurting it. It’s a completely non-profit organisation – they do it all just to save the animals”.

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Underwater photographer John Chapa gets up close with a wild alligator on his first ever dive with the animals. (Photo by John Chapa/Barcroft Media)

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Assistant photographer Adriana Canargo swims with an alligator for the first time. (Photo by John Chapa/Barcroft Media)

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Assistant photographer Adriana Canargo dives with a wild alligator. (Photo by John Chapa/Barcroft Media)

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Chris Gillette poses for a photograph with a rescued alligator underwater. (Photo by John Chapa/Barcroft Media)

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The open jaws of a rescued wild alligator. (Photo by John Chapa/Barcroft Media)

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Ashley Lawrence and Adriana Canargo pose with a rescued alligator. (Photo by John Chapa/Barcroft Media)

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Ashley Lawrence and Christopher Gillette swim with a rescued alligator. (Photo by John Chapa/Barcroft Media)

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Ashley Lawrence and Chris Gillette swim with a rescued alligators, deemed a nuisance by the state of Florida. (Photo by John Chapa/Barcroft Media)

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