Jacksonville dentists moonlight as gator hunters

"We're licensed and have gator tags. We're not 'Swamp People' like on television," Dr. Sullivan says.


Through the week, John Sullivan works to free patients of pain by performing root canals at his Baymeadows endodontics office. As a pediatric dentist, his wife, Laura, also spends her days deep in teeth.

In some of their spare time, the Sullivans root around the canals and waterways of the First Coast in pursuit of species with much more formidable mouths.

Alligators.

In a profession where many of his peers are known to play golf or tennis for leisure, John Sullivan is more of an adventurer, often taking part in kiteboarding and dirt biking. By themselves — sans guide or any other expert and possessing only knowledge the couple gleaned from some friends and a state wildlife class — off they go in their modest Carolina skiff.

“I wouldn’t say there is any fear involved, even though the alligator is extremely dangerous and you have to be very careful,” Laura Sullivan said. “There is just a tremendous adrenaline rush when you get one, especially when you get it in the boat.”

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