By Alex Jones
FORGET diamonds and dogs – gigantic leathery reptiles are this brave woman’s best friends.
Stunning photos show crocodile connoisseur and alligator aficionado Savannah Boan cuddling her croc pals, taking a toothy selfie with huge albino crocodile Pearl, and posing alongside her 13-foot-long ‘best friend’ Dundee.
Another striking photo shows a delighted Savannah clutching a bask of baby Cuban crocodiles.
Savannah, who previously served with the US Marines, works at Gatorland in Florida, an attraction which houses over 2.500 crocodiles and alligators.
It’s a dream role for the animal lover whose official title is Crocodile Enrichment Coordinator.
Savannah also works as an ambassador for the Gatorland Global, the park’s conservation arm.
“I have loved alligators & crocodiles and all reptiles my entire life and I have wanted to work at Gatorland for as long as I can remember,” she said.
“I am so happy to be a part of the Gatorland family of people and animals.
“Alligators and Crocodiles are some of the most misunderstood animals in the animal kingdom – they have way more to fear from us than we do from them.
“I want people to love alligators and crocodiles and recognise how important they are to the ecosystems in which they thrive.”
But dealing with the huge predatory beats on a day-to-day basis is far more than just a job for Savannah.
“My best friend in the entire world is Blackwater, he is a rescue alligator with the best personality of any alligator I’ve ever met, we spend a lot of time together,” continued the croc co-ordinator, who has recently returned from a conservation project in Jamaica.
“Crocodiles and alligators are a lot smarter than people think, I have relationships with all of the animals I care for at Gatorland, I have a great respect for them and they respond accordingly, unless they’re in a bad mood.
“As far as crocodiles go, Dundee is definitely my favourite.
“He even lets me do a little dental work on him so technically I’m kind of a crocodile dentist as well.
“I think by showing people the softer side of alligators and crocodiles, I can hopefully change their perspective and perhaps endear the general public to them.
“People protect what they love, and if I can help people love them too maybe they will want to protect them as well.
“Alligators and Crocodiles have always been portrayed as mindless monsters, but they are not villains.”
As one might expect, one of the questions Savannah face most often is ‘how can you tell the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?’
“The easiest way to tell is in their beautiful faces, an alligator face is shaped like a U and a crocodile face is shaped like a V – simple as that,” she concluded.
You can keep up to date with Savannah’s alligator antics on her Instagram.