Robbie and Stephen Keszey, hosts of Swamp Brothers, say that crocodiles are far more intelligent and dangerous than alligators
Many a horror movie has gigantic crocodiles or alligators attacking human beings. Nursery rhymes describe these fearsome reptiles as sneaky and slimy.
Although these giants are far from gentle, are such notions about them true? Gator and crocodile experts from Florida, Robbie and Stephen Keszey, say that they are not slimy and scary, except, perhaps, the Cuban croc, which they describe as “strong and nasty”.
The Keszey Brothers are the only ones in all of Florida who can handle alligators and crocodiles.
Their expertise has helped residents to such an extent that they have a show dedicated to them on Discovery Channel.
They run the Glades Herp Farm, which is the largest of its kind in America. The farm houses hundreds of reptiles, including some of the most exotic gators. The Glades Herp Farm is also home to Florida’s International Teaching Zoo, which accommodates a variety of animals. In their popular show, Swamp Brothers, Robbie and Stephen take viewers to “the wet and wild world of Florida’s swamps, forests and waterways. There, they track reptiles (from pythons to exotic gators), capture and return them to a safe environment, without losing life or limb in the process”.
“The over-breeding of dangerous reptiles in forests, swamps and waterways have led to them increasingly finding their way into the backyards, cul-de-sacs, and neighbourhood ponds of suburban Florida.
When this happens, we both are just about the only two guys in the entire state with the expertise to deal with the problem, thus we further take care of them through captive breeding,” says Robbie in an email interview.
It is said Florida is the only place in the world where crocodile and alligators co-exist in the same habitat. “Initially, I couldn’t tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile. Robbie taught me a lot about it. We were working with alligators and we eventually had to do something with a Cuban crocodile, which I had noticed was stronger and faster.
When you look it in the eyes, it looks like its thinking about a way to get the better of you. It just seems like if you look at an alligator as a regular, normal, everyday person; you’d look at the Cuban crocodile the best athlete, you know, because its just in a whole other game,” explains Stephen.
Robbie agrees with Stephen and adds, “Alligators are intelligent as well, but it just seems crocodiles are more, I don’t know how to put it, it just seems like you can almost see them think.”
The brothers followed different career paths before Swamp Brothers. Stephen worked as a bar tender in New York. Robbie’s twin passions of music and wildlife led him to pursue both at different stages in his life.
“After high school, I moved to Los Angeles to play bass in a rock band, living a life of excess on the Sunset Strip. Eventually realizing my true passion was for wildlife and reptiles, I moved to Florida and Glades Herp Farm, bringing my rock ‘n’ roll attitude and a penchant for living on the edge,” Robbie reminisces.
Today, he is considered an expert in all herpetofauna, especially crocodiles and venomous snakes.
His dream is to make use of all that he has learnt on the farm and open a zoo, where he hopes to continue teaching people to conserve and respect animals.
Swamp Brothers is aired from Monday to Friday at 10 p.m. on Discovery Channel.
Keywords: Discovery Channel programme