Beginning Memorial weekend, visitors can meet two species, the American alligator and the Orinoco crocodile, that are on vastly different ends of the conservation spectrum.
The American alligator is one of our country’s greatest conservation success stories. Considered an endangered species only a few decades ago, it was fully recovered by 1987 thanks to protections from the Endangered Species Act as well as conservation efforts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies. The population now numbers in the millions throughout their native range in swamps, marshes, bayous, lakes and rivers throughout the southeastern United States.
The largest reptile species in the U.S., female American alligators grow 8-9 feet long while males can reach 10-15 feet long. Amazingly, these massive animals emerge from eggs roughly the size of an orange and hatchlings are less than a foot long. As part of the new Alligators & Crocodiles exhibit, guests can also meet our small, juvenile alligators up close and personal. It’s a wild encounter you’ll never forget.