Alligator Handling

Identification | Biology | Damage ID | Management | Handling


Working with alligators can be dangerous. Never place your hands near the head of an alligator, as it can swing and snap with great speed. Use catch poles and other devices to handle and control alligators. Never assume an alligator is dead. Secure the jaws with duct tape as soon as safely possible.


Relocation of an alligator is for rescue situations rather than nuisance or problem animals.


Translocation of alligators is not recommended due to the risk of disease transmission. An alternative to translocation is to move the individual to an alligator farm.

Professionally manufactured locking catchpole. Image by PCWD.


To euthanize alligators that are more than 5 feet long, discharge a .243 caliber bullet or larger into the brain. Avoid placing the shot between the eyes or the top the skull, as the bullet may ricochet off the bone. Shoot at the base of the skull instead. If using a bangstick, only discharge it underwater to reduce the potential of injury from fragments. Small alligators can be killed with a blow to the brain with a sharp object.


Check your state regulations regarding disposal of carcasses.