Florida Gov. Rick Scott may have spoken too freely last week when he revealed his feelings about one of the Sunshine State’s most iconic animals.

“I don’t want to be close to them that much,” Scott said during a recent visit to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It’s hard to blame the governor for that comment. If he’s afraid of alligators, he’s afraid of alligators. Anyone who has watched their fair share of National Geographic can sympathize with not wanting to get too close.

But Scott may have wandered a bit off track when he said he would be “receptive,” to shooting an alligator if that would help Florida’s tourism industry.

That statement seemed to ruffle a few feathers, according to one account in the New York Times. “Gators are native,” said Charlie Arazoza, a volunteer ranger and chairman of the South Florida National Parks Trust. “If you want to indiscriminately kill some reptiles, let’s focus on exotics, like Burmese pythons. We’re already hunting them."

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