Couple uses live alligator for their gender reveal party

Couple uses live alligator for their gender reveal party

When couples reveal the gender of their baby, they don't just announce it on Facebook. They throw a themed party, and reveal the news in a theatrical way. Some couples serve cupcakes filled with blue or pink frosting, so their guests discover it's a boy or a girl when they take a bite. Other couples pack blue or pink helium-filled balloons into a trunk and set them free . However, Mike Kliebert and Rebecca Miller had a really innovative idea: using a live alligator.

Gators might be scary to you, but they're a part of everyday life for Mike and Rebecca. The couple lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana and runs an alligator tour group called Kliebert Gator Tours. According to their website, customers can "hand feed these old beasts," which range from  9 to 18 feet long. Mike's actually a  wrangler and trainer who goes by the nickname, T. Mike, the Gator King. On their 23 acre property, there are over 400 gators, so chances are pretty high you'll see one. (Last year, I went on a swamp tour / gator tour just outside of New Orleans, and would highly recommend it. They're awesome.)

To reveal the gender of their baby, Mike used a 10-foot-long, 61-year-old, partially blind alligator named Sally. "We wanted to incorporate the alligators, who are like family, into this big moment in our lives," said Mike. "I wouldn't have had any other gator do the reveal. My grandpa hatched her in 1957." The couple uploaded a video of the reveal on Facebook, and it went viral, getting over four million views.

In the video, Mike opens the enormous gator's jaws, and places a hollowed-out watermelon inside. Then Sally's jaws chomps down on the fruit, and blue gunk sprays out, indicating the baby is a boy. Rebecca, who is very pregnant, stands about ten feet away from the ferocious creature, but says she "was not nervous at all." The couple plan to name the boy River Joseph Daniel Kliebert. But they say if the baby was girl, they would have named her Sally.

While this all sounds like fun, The PETA Foundation (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) condemned the gender reveal stunt. They called the Klieberts' usage of the alligator "exploitive," and said the family has "a record of animal welfare violations." "Alligators are shy, sensitive animals who suffer tremendously when they are exploited like this for entertainment," said Delcianna Winders, the vice president of PETA. "We absolutely discourage [anyone] from using alligators in this way."

In response, Mike says he has "a love and a passion for these animals." In the past, his farm has been inspected by several organizations, including PETA, without any problems. "Before people bash us, they should understand why we do what we do," says Mike: "I can't explain how much we respect the animals. Everything we do is Louisiana regulated and we follow the rules. All I can say is that when people visit, by the time they leave, they understand us better."

If I ever get invited to a gender reveal party, there better be a live alligator, or I'm not going.