Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer

Falcons place-kicker Matt Bryant has the ability to call alligators by mimicing a distress call. CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons place-kicker Matt Bryant has the ability to summon alligators by making a distress sound. CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch. Here is a story that will appear in the Sunday paper on Falcons place-kicker Matt Bryant.

It may not come to a cable network any time soon, but with the prevalence of reality television these days, how about this offering? “Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer.”

You really can’t make this stuff up.

Bryant, entering his fourth season as the Falcons’ place-kicker, has learned to mimic the distress call of an alligator. It works to draw the reptiles out from bodies of water, and he’s gone as far as to lead them around golf courses as they investigate the sound. He’ll stop near the green to allow a group to putt out, of course.

He’s used the ability to amaze family, coaches, players and strangers. So, if Bryant ever asks: ‘Want to see a trick?’ one best beware.

“I’ve had fun with it,” said Bryant, who gets a lot of practice at his home in Florida, where he says you can find a reptile in any standing water.

Place-kickers are known to be an eccentric lot. When he was with the Falcons, Morten Andersen kept a written record of every kick he has made, in games and practice, dating to 1990. The Giants’ Lawrence Tynes hand washes his car before big games. Bill Gramatica once tore his ACL celebrating a first-half field goal for the Cardinals.

Look what happens when Bryant spends time watching the Discovery Channel.

The retention pond behind his house in Tampa was the testing ground. Bryant’s wife noticed a small alligator, so he made the noise. The creature started to follow Bryant’s wife. When Bryant had her stop, the alligator continued toward the noise.

“That’s when I figured out he was coming to the sound,” Bryant said.

There have been scary moments. While golfing in Cancun, Bryant asked members of his group if they wanted to see a trick after hearing something splash in the nearby mangroves. He made the call, and all surrounding noise immediately ceased. The very large head of a saltwater crocodile emerged from the water. He stopped, and they quickly moved on.

“I knew I could do it here in America, but I didn’t realize I could do a Spanish version as well,” Bryant said.

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter can relate a firsthand account. Earlier this year, several players and coaches were playing golf in Myrtle Beach, S.C, and staying at the home of owner Arthur Blank. After talk of Bryant’s ability, someone noticed an alligator in a pond behind the home. Bryant did his call, and the animal immediately came “flying” out of the water and toward the group.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Koetter said. “… I didn’t wait to see how close it was going to get. There were some bushes there about 25 yards away, and I didn’t wait for it to get any closer. I got behind someone else so it would eat them before me.”

One place you won’t find Bryant performing the unique talent is in his saltwater aquarium. Keeping a 265-gallon tank has become his latest passion — and expense. Bryant figures he has spent 20 times the initial investment he made in the tank purchased from a friend who was getting rid of the equipment.

With the help of a friend, Byrant encased the seven-foot long tank in a basement wall of his home. He has stocked it with tangs, variums and coral. From the animated movie “Finding Nemo,” Dory (a blue tang) and, of course, Nemo (a clown fish) are included.

There is much more involved in stocking an aquarium full of clown fish. There are many varieties of the species, including the Black Ice Clown fish that Bryant can readily show in the many photos stored on his iPhone.

“I’ve always wanted [a saltwater tank],” Bryant said. “My favorite place to go is the Georgia Aquarium. I just go there and sit all day. To me, it’s very therapeutic.

“I always wanted one, and a guy down the road, he was going to sell his really cheap. You know what, for that price it’s worth a try and see what happens. Since buying the thing, I’ve probably spent times 10 or 20 times that on all the different things.”

Fun until you spend $400 on a fish and it dies four days later. That’s part of the perils of keeping a perfect environment for so many species. Fear not, the fish was replaced.

Bryant plans to purchase a 1,000-gallon tank, as the hobby has a full grasp on him, and his young children are fascinated by the aquatics.

“It’s amazing how this thing has entrenched me,” Bryant said.

- Chris Vivlamore

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39 comments Add your comment

Seen This B4

September 15th, 2012
1:27 pm

First! (Again!)

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

Brian

September 15th, 2012
1:36 pm

@Seen

Nope Technically, you guys are 3rd better beat Carolina on Sunday or you may be fourth.

Just Saying time to RiseUp

Seen This B4

September 15th, 2012
1:44 pm

@Brian: If that’s all you’re saying, then you’re not saying much.

Falcon James

September 15th, 2012
3:10 pm

Vivlamore—- Thanks for this article. This is one of the first I have seen on Bryant. This guy has kept us in more games than I can count. Great article!!

hiramsaint

September 15th, 2012
4:51 pm

dang brian…you got sonned !

SirReal

September 15th, 2012
5:28 pm

These guys really dont have lives for real.LOL Who hovers around on a site waiting for it so they can say they are first….on a blog that doesnt even have to do with their garbage team? Pathetic.
ANYWAY, I’d like to see Matt Bryant do it.LOL Hey Villy! Tell him he needs to film it and put it on the team site or here on the AJC. Thats interesting stuff right there! :)

Post-it

September 15th, 2012
7:58 pm

No Hiram, your team did last Sunday by a rookie QB. At home even.

Michael M.

September 15th, 2012
8:12 pm

@ SirReal…………………..That was the ” Post Comment of the Week ” , …………………..like to fell out of my chair laughing out here ! …………………………………….

Michael M.

September 15th, 2012
8:41 pm

Watching a good college game right now but was reading about the Carolina-Aints game tomorrow……………………you know , one of those teams are going to be really embarrassed by being at the bottom of the NFC South cellar come late Sunday evening……………..I got my money on Carolina to win……………………………………I like the thought of the Aints on the bottom for a change…………………………………………

Esquire

September 16th, 2012
7:25 am

@Seen This B4 September 15th, 2012 1:44 pm

Brian: If that’s all you’re saying, then you’re not saying much.
_______________________________________________
If that’s all you’re saying, then you’re not saying much either.

Actually …………he meant to laugh at you. No nad nimrod troll fail.
*************************************************************
By the way STUPID, look up manlihood.

Seen give it up, you prove everyday what a nobody you are just by being here. See the N and the D on your keyboard, it don’t stand for Notre Dame.

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

See the above, think of it as a pencil. Or also an accurate depiction of your manlihood………if in deed you are even a man.

You are such a wuss.

Esquire

September 16th, 2012
7:31 am

USC took a tumble. Gotta love it!!

RunninWithTheDawgs

September 16th, 2012
7:50 am

I fear for the Gator population in Fl. with the Python population on the rise. I hope they reach a balance in feeding on each others young. We’ve got Gators on our Fl. property. When I go down there I stay pretty close to the house, and definitly don’t go close to the 1/2 acre pond, although the neighbor kids swim and fish in the pond almost year round.

Clown called jss

September 16th, 2012
8:11 am

He is saying alot Seen! You talked so much trash about your Aints and you got drilled by a rookie in your own backyard! Thata like the new kid on the first day of school kicking your angus and taking on the big bully and his little pink sidekick spike! Punk sidekick=Hiram! Come tell us how bad you will beat Carilina today …..go head do it!

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

Big Ray

September 16th, 2012
2:49 pm

Kitty Cats up on the Saints? Say it ain’t so!

Unfortunately for the “division winner” Panthers…no small lead is safe with Cam the turnover machine. He has none so far in this game, but only because a Saints DB dropped a sure pick.

I don’t know which is worse, Cam trying to be the old version of Brett Favre by slinging that pass directly into heavy traffic or the Saints and their “like a sieve” defense…

I know this much….Brees sure misses Carl Nicks…LOL. Then again, who says he cares? He made the Saints pay him for last year’s performance…which he won’t come even remotely close to resembling THIS season.

JoFo

September 16th, 2012
4:06 pm

Yawn! Nice, slow moving, comfortable Sunday afternoon. The sAINTS are about to go 0-2 as well they should w/o being allowed to cheat . That was a great story about the referee that was pulled out of the game because the NFL found out he is a AINTS fan!! Lol!!! :) HA ha ha!

Big Ray

September 16th, 2012
4:14 pm

0-2, 0-1 in NFC South…..who dat? Dem FEMA fools, dat who!

SirReal

September 16th, 2012
4:46 pm

@Michael M. They are that comical my friend. I can see that happening! LOL LOL

El Snipero

September 16th, 2012
6:40 pm

Naysayers will be hot on the blog tomorrow, pulling for the Broncos. No worries there, they are sick to death about the Saints loss today and the only consolation they might have is a Falcons loss. So if the Falcons win, that will silence them once again.

Falcon James

September 16th, 2012
9:40 pm

Looking good for my predictions. Saints go winless this season…..They are Oh-Fur!!! LMAO

Nostradamus

September 16th, 2012
9:45 pm

The Once and Future NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons – 1-0, Undefeated

Caroler- Ina Pansies – 1-1 (Cam not shafing his buddies yet, huge potential + and -)

Tampon Bey Tucks – 1-1 (stepping ip up this year with new coaches)

BO Aints – 0-2 (Coach fishin’ during the games, QB contemplating his investments with the new contract – I suggest paper bags suitable for fans hiding faces)

Life is good

LOL at the Aints

September 16th, 2012
10:22 pm

STB4, First!,, and Last! LOL!!

DR. FALCON

September 16th, 2012
11:45 pm

HAS ANYBODY SEEN HIRAMSAINT, OR SEENTHISB4? HOW ABOUT THOSE ‘AINTS, BABY! YOU SAINTS FANS’ HAVE TO BE PROUD OF THIS 0-2 START! NO SYMPATHY HERE! YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN WOOFING ALL SUMMER! CAN WE SAY, 0-16? NO, I WILL GIVE YOU 2 WINS! LOL! GO ‘AINTS!!

Quiz Time

September 17th, 2012
4:29 am

Whats black and gold and 0 – 2?

Brian

September 17th, 2012
4:33 am

Yep, caints are 4th.

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

Matt Bryant : The Latest Fuzz

September 17th, 2012
10:02 pm

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

will

September 18th, 2012
11:22 pm

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]

[...] Matt Bryant: The Alligator Whisperer [...]