“Ducks, geese and other fowl frequent our treatment ponds, and we shudder to think what one all hyped up on meth would do. Furthermore, if it made it far enough, we could create meth-gators in Shoal Creek and the Tennessee River down in North Alabama.”
This was the warning posted on the Loretto Police Department Facebook page following a raid where a guy tried to flush his drugs. Posted on July 13th, it was soon picked up by major news outlets with stories about “meth gators.” Of course, social media soon followed suit and people went nuts.
Unfortunately, a week later, those Tennessee cops said it was all a joke, which, yeah, of course it was. But still, fuck them for getting my hopes up: “Meth gators” is the greatest two-word combination since “extra pepperoni,” and I, for one, am not letting it go that easily. I want to know how to make a real meth gator, and furthermore, I want to know what the hell a meth gator would act like, but since I’m fresh out of meth — and gators — I turned to a reptile expert to give me the scoop.
“There would really only be one way to make a meth gator — someone would have to intentionally feed it meth,” says Sean McCarthy, director of the Australian educational wildlife company Snake Handler. Injecting it, he points out, is too hazardous, and simply flushing your drugs down the toilet would never create a meth gator, as the drugs would be too diluted by the water to matter. He also doubts that it could be absorbed through the skin of a gator, as was the story of this supposedly meth-addicted snake seized from a meth lab.
Feeling that the snake in question was probably just pissed off, McCarthy explains, “Reptile skin isn’t very absorbent so it’s not very amenable to compounds going through it, so my staff and I weren’t 100 percent sold on that one.” I even ask McCarthy what would happen if I took a whole bunch of meth and fed myself to a gator, but he explains that this still wouldn’t make the gator high, as it’s not enough of a dose — the drugs would have to be directly put into its food.
So let’s say we’ve pumped that gator’s lunch full of meth and he chowed down. What’s next? Well, how long it will take for the gator to get high is going to depend on your dosage size and your gator size. Prior to this, all of my meth knowledge came from binging Breaking Bad, but after doing some research, I found out that it takes an average adult about 20 to 30 minutes to get high by swallowing meth. Since an average adult gator weighs about 1,000 pounds, it’s probably a safe bet that the gator will feel those effects within two hours at most. The high will creep up gradually, without that initial rush that comes from smoking meth, as that doesn’t happen when one swallows it.
Once it takes effect, McCarthy says you’d probably have a fairly chill gator on your hands as that initial high gets the dopamine going. While gators do play, McCarthy explains that behaviors displayed by gators having fun can be difficult to perceive, so he says that, more than likely, the gator would just be rather relaxed.
When it starts to come down from that high — which may take several hours — that’s when you’d have a problem. Despite what you may see in a movie like Crawl, McCarthy explains, “Gators are actually very docile and fairly easy to work with. They only become aggressive toward you if you get into their space, and even then, it’s just a single lunge to warn you off.” The only other time you’re in trouble with a sober gator is when it’s hungry, which isn’t all the time, like some might think.
With a meth gator, though, you should expect a host of problems as he’s coming down from that high. “In that situation, you’ll probably find a gator that’s more aggressive and more unpredictable in their movements,” McCarthy says. As for what that unpredictability may look like, McCarthy explains that the very sight of you may make the gator feel threatened. In other words, if you happen to be out on the golf course and a giant meth gator comes wandering onto the green, run for your fucking life.
Now, a single high does not a meth gator make. But if an alligator had prolonged access to methamphetamine, McCarthy says you could expect them to be twitchy pretty much all the time. He’d also be wildly unpredictable, as his paranoia would cause everything around him to appear threatening and he’d be in constant search of that next high.
In addition to its erratic behavior, a hardcore meth gator could have some serious health problems, which would create an even more dangerous creature. Citing a study where animals were given regular access to meth, McCarthy explains that a gator’s eating and drinking habits may eventually cease entirely except for the meth-stuffed chickens you’re cramming down his throat. This is exactly what happened in the study McCarthy mentioned: Despite having access to food and water, the animals in the study never ate or drank, instead opting for more meth via a lever they pressed. Eventually, the animals died of starvation and dehydration.
And so would end the sad tale of the meth gator. But for ever-decreasing bursts of pleasure from his regular doses of meth, he would be a twitchy, angry creature who would eventually drop dead from the ravages of his addiction. So much for my dreams of a hilarious gator version of Breaking Bad with Gator-Walt and Gator-Jesse cooking meth in their custom-built Gator-RV.
Stupid science ruins everything.