Alligator Farm

Big Gator

On Tuesday of our Easter Florida Adventure, we visited the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Fl.

It was actually a really neat zoo with a real focus on alligators and crocodiles from around the world.

Though, it does stink. I mean, it smells really really bad. Not surprising given that the entire place is basically built on natural swamps surrounding manmade swamps of some of the core exhibits.

But, alas, if you are going to visit nature, you gotta deal with the stench.

More critters on the click through…

Pile of Gators

The main area contained lots and lots of gators. They ranged in size from “just” a few feet long to upwards of 9 or 10 feet.

A guide stepped into the middle of the alligator area and gave a talk about their history, characteristics of the animals, and general behavior.

It was amazing.

In particular, I had no clue that alligators are actually pretty darned smart. Smart enough, at least, to learn a series of tricks very much akin to tricks you might teach a dog.

Head up. Jaws open. Tail up. Walk. Etc…

The gators quite clearly responded to their names and were generally quite amenable to hanging out and putting on a show.

Asian Gator

We also saw quite a few species of gators and crocodiles that I had never seen before.

This rather long snouted asian gator (or, maybe, a crocodile) was quite content to hang out with his mouth agape. That is one long mouth and prickly set of teeth!

Roger found it amusing to no end that there were tons of little Florida native lizards running around everywhere, many of which were quite content to catch some raws while sitting on top of a lizard many many times its size (none in this pictures).

Yellow Parrot:  The Talker

There were also quite a few birds. This rather loud bird was quite content to yell “Hello!” to everyone until people would pay attention, at which point it would do the “Hello” happy dance and proceed to pronounce “Hello” in about 2 dozen different ways.

The park also had 150+ (maybe 200) year old Galapagos Tortoise. The turtles were quite social with each other. Or anti-social, as the case may be, as I caught one putting another in its place.

The black swans were particularly beautiful. As much as I hate swans (long childhood story), the ripply black tail feathers are quite elegant.

And there were the outliers of the bird universe, too. In particular, this gigantic billed bubble headed colorful bird was having a grand time trying to grab cameras through the screen (which, unfortunately, did not make for a good picture as the screen was fairly small gauge).

Tri-Colored Heron

About 1/2 of the area of the park is devoted to a wading bird rookery. Kind of funny in that there many gators hanging out in the waters below. I suspect the birds wade elsewhere.

Turning a corner, there was a tree in the distance just full of birds.

Walking along the trail, there were bunches of birds hanging out in the trees quite close to the wooden boardwalk, including this relatively small tri-colored heron.

Egret Showing Off

Being springtime, there were quite a number of birds looking for a mate and showing full plumage.

These birds look relatively plain when all folded up, but then they explode in fluffy feathers when they decide it is time to show off.

Wood Stork Arriving at Nest

That big tree turned out to be covered in egrets and wood storks. Gorgeous birds from a distance but they have some seriously prehistoric, lizard like, heads!

Watching these rather large birds land in an already crowded tree was rather amusing.

Perpetual arguing over landing rights could be heard throughout the area.

All in all a neat place!



4 Responses to “Alligator Farm”

  1. Bob says:

    That was just delightful, thank you.

  2. Amie says:

    Abbey and I were enjoying these on flickr the other day. It was nice to see these again with your naration!

  3. Jon H says:

    I believe the Asian critter with its mouth open is a gharial.

  4. Kathy says:

    Hi

    Love the pictures of the long snouted alligator, those swamps do smell awful though.

    Kathy

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