Kids stand too close to alligator
Tourons of National Parks

Watch: Parents Push Kids to Take Close-Up Photo With Alligator at Everglades National Park

The incident is an important reminder about how to behave around wildlife.

One of the best parts of taking vacations with your children is getting to experience new places through their eyes. There is nothing like seeing the wonder, awe, and joy in young people as they visit national parks and witness sights like Firefall in Yosemite or the vastness of the Grand Canyon.

Everglades National Park gives kids the chance to experience wetlands, alligators, and flamingos, among other wildlife. While these animals may be exciting to see in person, it's best that park visitors view them from a distance. As excited as a child may get to see wildlife close-up, they usually know better than to put themselves into a dangerous situation. However, sometimes adults aren't as cautious, as evidenced in a recent video shared with Instagram page Tourons of National Parks.

The clip shows two children being prodded into taking a picture in front of an alligator, which is sitting in the grass with its mouth agape. The girls are understandably hesitant about the situation, but their parents keep encouraging them to move closer to the animal. One girl holds on to the arm of what appears to be her sister, positioning her body a little bit in front of her younger sibling in a protective manner.

Next to the two girls is another family also trying to get pictures with the animal. One of the adults has their back to the gator as she pulls what appears to be her daughter in to take a photo. The daughter can be seen warily glancing back at the open-mouthed gator, clearly concerned about being so close to the animal.

It's likely the three girls were mostly concerned that the gator had its mouth open. And they were right to be wary of the animal's large jaws. Alligators, which can run up to 35 mph on land, have a bite force of 2,000  pounds per square inch. The gator could have caused some real damage to the children if it had wanted to.

Typically, when alligators are basking in the sun, they open their mouths to let out heat, regulating their body temperature and ensuring they do not overheat. This is likely what the alligator was doing with its mouth gaping open. However, it can also be a sign of territorial or defensive behavior. If it had begun to hiss, these tourists would have needed to take that as a sign to stop photographing and leave the vicinity, as that would have been a clear indication the gator wanted to be left alone.

READ MORE: The Top Dangers in National Parks, According to New Data