Chris tries scrubbing alligators with Everglades Holiday Park’s Gabby Scampone

Alligators are so soft and cuddly, but sometimes when you pet ’em, they can be a bit dirty. That’s why they need a daily scrubbing, and Chris Van Vliet is just the man for the job in this week’s Keeping Up With Chris.

You might remember that viral video that we showed you a few months ago of a girl scrubbing a gator with a broom. I looked at that video and said, “I want to give that a try,” so I went to Everglades Holiday Park to become an official gator scrubber!

Gabby Scampone, caretaker: “A gator this size, by the way, has about 2,000 pounds of crushing power per square inch.”

Gabby Scampone’s volunteer job as an alligator wrestler at Everglades Holiday Park includes terrifying stunts like this.

*Alligator snaps at her*

That was close! Or this…

*Head on alligator’s mouth*

Gabby Scampone: “Ta da!”

But it was this fairly tame video that turned her into a viral sensation overnight with millions of views.

Chris Van Vliet: “The alligator looks like it’s enjoying this back scratch.”

Gabby Scampone: “I think they’re indifferent to it. Sometimes I like to think they enjoy it.”

The scrubbing is actually part of a daily hygiene regiment that prevents algae from growing on their backs.

Chris Van Vliet: “So when I told people that I was going to come here and be with you and scrub the alligators, the general consensus was, ‘You’re crazy.'”

Gabby Scampone: “I get that a lot.”

Chris Van Vliet: “Is this insane?”

Gabby Scampone: “I don’t know, you tell me. I think it’s pretty normal.”

Chris Van Vliet: “All right, so we’re going to do this, right?”

Gabby Scampone: “Yeah, we’re going to do this.”

Chris Van Vliet: “What do I need to know?”

Gabby Scampone: “Umm, just watch your toes. Mind your feet.”

Gabby Scampone: “This is Godzilla.”

Chris Van Vliet: “Godzilla!” And he looks like he needs a bit of a scrubbing.”

Gabby Scampone: “Go ahead.”

*Godzilla walks away*

Chris Van Vliet: “Oh, no. Come back here, buddy!”

Godzilla decided he wanted to get some shade with his friends while he got scrubbed.

Chris Van Vliet: “Aw, yeah! How about that?”

I quickly learned that you really need to watch where you step when you’re in here.

Gabby Scampone: “That’s fine. If you step by his head, he’ll bite you.”

Chris Van Vliet: “Oh. If you step by his head, he’ll bite you.”

Once Godzilla was all scrubbed up, we moved on to Hector.

Chris Van Vliet: “OK, you need a scrubbing! Come here! You’re very dirty!”

You know, this whole time I’m thinking, “Do they even enjoy it?” What’s all the fuss about?

*Gets scrubbed*

Oh, but now I get it.

Chris Van Vliet: “A little to the left.”

I totally get why the gators like it. It feels great!

If there’s something you wanna see me scrub, cook, play or try, send me an email at

A big thanks to Gabby for inviting us to join her at work. Since I did her job, maybe she should come here and do mine? I’d say it’s just as dangerous.


Everglades Holiday Park
21940 Griffin Rd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33332
(954) 434-8111

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