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Alligator 'gender reveal party' causes controversy

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Media captionVideo courtesy of Melody Kliebert

The internet is awash with gender reveal videos, many garnering millions of views. However, one such video has caused controversy online.

Gender reveal parties are a modern trend where expectant parents tell family and friends their baby's biological sex, often in creative ways involving pink and blue colours.

However, the Kliebert family's unique gender reveal video, involving the family's pet alligator and a watermelon, has provoked worries online over safety and animal protection.

In a Facebook video which has been viewed seven million times, Mike Kliebert, who runs an alligator farm, is seen placing a watermelon into the mouth of Sally, a family pet, in front of a crowd of people.

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When the animal snaps its jaws shut, the watermelon explodes to reveal blue jelly - signifying the baby will be a boy.

The assembled group reacts with cheers of delight and, after the video went viral, many thousands of people congratulated the family on social media.

However, the video has also angered a lot of people who have strongly expressed their annoyance an alligator was used, calling it "hideous" and "cruel".

A number of people expressed their concern over part of the video showing a child rolling on the floor beside the alligator.

At this point in the video Kliebert presses down on the creature's head to stop it from moving towards the child.

Some online comments called the event "animal abuse," and journalist Yashar Ali wished "the gator would have bitten his hand".

One reply to Ali asked when people will "stop using and abusing animals for their amusement".

Kliebert has responded to the criticism he and his family received and addresses the "bad thoughts" people had about the gender reveal in a follow-up video.

In the later clip Kliebert introduces his son Blaze, who was the child rolling on the floor in the original clip, and explains there were "at least a dozen people there that are gator handlers" to make the situation safe.

While Kliebert goes on to say accidents can happen, admitting that the alligator in the background of the video has bitten him three times, he maintains that he is a "world leading" alligator handler and that his family provide a sanctuary for the reptiles.

When asked what he thinks about some of the negative comments made about the family's video, Blaze concludes they are "very mean".

And others agreed, with one reply to Kliebert's posts calling the original video "the best gender reveal I've ever seen".

Meanwhile, some people took the opportunity to talk about other gender reveal parties, such as this surprise reveal from The Graham Norton Show.

By Tom Gerken and George Pierpoint, BBC UGC & Social News

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