Fact Check

Alligators Given as Gifts

Gifts of two alligators go awry.

Published Jul 30, 1999


Claim:   Alligators given as gifts escape.


Origins:   Here are two fine alligator stories from the 1930s, one following the other a day later:

Alligator Sent To La Guardia

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Two baby alligators from the Florida Everglades rode an airmail plane northward today toward the homes of Mayor F.H. La Guardia of New York and Postmaster General Farley. Mayor Ted Brown and Postmaster O.B. Carr, the donors said they were the first to be carried by mail pilots under new postal regulations permitting shipment. Postage was 60 cents each. The occasion was the dedication of West Palm Beach's airport.

Baby Alligators Missing



Jervis, N.Y. — James A. Farley's supposedly air-minded baby alligator couldn't be located tonight.

The sharp-toothed infant, and another consigned to Mayor F.H. La Guardia of New York, both reputed to be aboard an Eastern Airlines plane which made a forced landing near here last night, were missing from the wreckage.

Post office officials who superintended the forwarding of six sacks of registered mail and three sacks of ordinary letters on the plane said they found no trace of the alligators.

They were reported shipped from West Palm Beach, Fla., by Mayor Ted Brown to La Guardia and by Postmaster O.B. Carr to Farley.

Clearly they got away by swallowing their tails, thus disguising themselves as luggage.

Barbara "carrion bags, at that" Mikkelson

Last updated:   11 August 2011


   The New York Times.   "Alligator Sent to La Guardia."

    20 December 1936.

   The New York Times.   "Baby Alligators Missing."

    21 December 1936.