Alligators and marshmallows don’t mix – or do they?
In a video racking up YouTube views, Louisiana swamp guide Lance LaCrosse can be seen in the murky water with two large gators swimming calmly around him, accepting chicken and even marshmallows from his hand.
The hair-raising video was shot last month outside the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Marrero, Louisiana. Tourists on the swamp boat, including Stacy Hicks, who shot the video, can be heard reacting to the guide’s actions and gasping loudly when one of the creatures snaps at the guide’s face – as if playfully – as it awaits more food.
LaCrosse, 29, said he is just as nervous as his audience.
"Every time I jump in the water I'm scared," he told ABC News. "I'm scared there is an alligator at the bottom I can't see."
Despite his fear, LaCrosse also teases the gator, even rubbing his head on the underside of its jaws.
Then LaCrosse asks for marshmallows to be thrown to him. He pops one into his mouth, and one of the alligators swims up and carefully takes it from the man’s mouth.
LaCrosse says he has a trick to keep the alligator from biting him. "I keep my hand underneath their mouth," he said. "That way they can't bite me in the face."
The tour company for whom LaCrosse works, Airboat Adventures, had no comment. Wildlife officials said they are reviewing the video to see whether any laws were broken. It is not illegal to feed alligators in Louisiana but it is prohibited in Jefferson Parish, where Airboat Adventures is located.
The National Park Service “always encourages staff and visitors to treat any wild animals with extreme caution. Feeding wild animals trains them to see humans as a food source, and that can be highly dangerous for both humans and animals,” a representative told ABC News.
Hicks, the tourist who filmed LaCrosse, called the experience “a bit unnerving.”
“I was worried about his safety,” she said, “especially since he told the group he had been bitten a few days before.”