By Tui Benjamin
They say you should never smile at a crocodile but this 4ft alligator can’t stop grinning after zookeepers discovered she loves CHIN RUBS.
Unbelievable footage shows Missy, seven, acting just like a dog as she enjoys being tickled by keeper Jarrad Prangell, 25, at Symbio Zoo in Helensburgh, New South Wales, Australia.
Staff say the hand-reared American alligator – who even enjoys going for walks on a lead – is one of the most affectionate reptiles they have ever had at the park.
Marketing manager Kevin Fallon said: “Missy is the most affectionate alligator around – well, at least as affectionate as an alligator can be.
“Her temperament is amazing. Jarrad has been working with Missy for a number of years but we recently discovered chin rubs are something she particularly loves.
“She just loved it instantly from the moment he started doing it.
“She also enjoys having her back tickled and the keepers being around her. She tags along with the keepers to bask in the sunshine on the lawns – following Jarrad around – and is even walked on a lead.”
In the video footage, Missy can be seen closing her eyes and opening her mouth wide in a grin of bliss as Jarrad rubs the underside of her chin and mouth.
And Kevin said despite the alligator’s powerful jaw and strong teeth Jarrad is in no danger because the seven-year-old reptile is extremely friendly.
He added: “Missy just seems to bond with people very easily. She has always been really affectionate and is used quite a lot in the education work we do with schools because of how relaxed she is.
“If you left a dog out in the wild and then expected it to just come over and start licking your face that wouldn’t happen – it comes down to how animals are raised.
“But if they are raised in a relaxed and caring environment that will show in their personality.”