Meet ‘Wally’ – The Emotional Support Alligator That Peacefully Swims With Children

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: January 17, 2023
© Steve Byland/
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

When you have viewed as many videos as we have of alligators taking a swipe with their huge jaws, this footage is just incredible. This is ‘Wally’ the super-friendly gator who just refuses to bite anyone and seems to love human company. As amazing as this may sound, this loving reptile provides emotional support to his owner and has a huge following on social media.

Alligators are often aggressively defensive

©Ernie Hounshell/

Alligators as Pets?

Alligators are not generally considered as great pets! They are a member of the Crocodilia order that also includes crocodiles and the black caiman. They can live for over 60 years, grow to over 15 feet and have very sharp teeth!

It is actually illegal to own an alligator in some US states and they have been responsible for numerous attacks on humans over the years including some fatalities. They have very strong jaws with a powerful bite and a muscular tail that can knock you over.

They are also usually aggressively defensive and will attack to protect themselves. If you are thinking of taking on a gator, you need a lot of time and expert knowledge. You also need to provide them with the correct environment. They need a large area of water, logs, live plants, running water and the correct diet. Most experts agree that if you want to learn more about gators, volunteer at your local zoo or reptile rescue center rather than getting your own!

Wally Is an Exceptional Alligator

Wally is not your average alligator. His owner Joseph Henney has described how they first met. This gator is now seven years old and five and a half feet long. They met back in 2015 when Joseph was asked to take in some alligators that had been found in a pond in Florida. His hobby was caring for reptiles and he had been helping to relocate them for the last 30 years. He bonded with the then 14-month-old Wally and decided to keep him. He also noticed that Wally never tried to bite him and would not eat live rats – he preferred cheesy popcorn!

Soon, Wally started following Joe around the house and seemed to enjoy being held. When Joe suffered a series of bereavements in 2017, Wally tried to do things to cheer him up!

He has turned into an emotional support alligator and started to attend swim parties, schools and summer camps. We see him here in a pool with two little girls and when asked why they think Wally is so nice one answers “I think because he was born nice.”

Next up:

Watch An Alligator Sneak Up on A Florida Fisherman Showing Off His Catch

Watch: Is This the Largest Alligator Ever Discovered in Georgia?

Watch This Alligator Rush on Shore to Chase Florida Fisherman

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American Alligator
The American alligator is the largest reptile in North America.
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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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