Youth Ambassadors learn about Florida alligators

400-af-kayleyYouth Ambassadors learn about Florida alligators

Kayley Sutton, Youth Ambassador
Pedro Menendez High School, Class of 2015

The Youth Ambassadors of St Augustine recently took a trip to the St Augustine Alligator Farm as another step to learning the history of this wonderful town in preparation for the 450th celebration of St Augustine.

In 1893, the original Alligator Farm was built, located right across the street from the current location. Then, in 1923, the current Alligator Farm was constructed with more land and room to expand in the future. It is not an actual alligator farm, meaning the alligators there are not used for their skin, or other parts of their body to make goods. Instead, the St Augustine Alligator Farm is one of the most hands-on zoological parks in the United States. It is also one of the most diverse. It is the only park in the United States that owns all 23 species of crocodilian, and 19 species out of the 23 are endangered. Roughly 250 crocodilians are at the Alligator Farm, and 39 of them have names based on how they react to human interaction.

The Alligator Farm is not only home to the crocodilians however, it is home to over 135 different species including birds, turtles, tortoises, lizards, fish, and more. Certain kinds of turtles and crocodilians are able to coincide together peacefully. And the female Galapagos tortoises have been at the Alligator Farm since 1947. Often, in the wild, turtles utilize old alligator nests for themselves as a nest and shelter.

The large pool located near the entrance of the Alligator Farm has been there since the 1950s and it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that the Alligator Farm crew began performing shows on a platform in the enclosure. During these shows, they feed the alligators and demonstrate just how powerful the creatures are.

Facts about the Crocodilians:

• Crocs usually eat once weekly.
• Alligators can climb.
• An alligator’s bite can produce from 2000-3000 pounds of force from their jaws.
• The longest time recorded of an alligator staying underwater is 8 hours
• Underwater, crocs slow their heartbeat and circulation so blood only reaches the brain.
• Crocs grow about a foot a year until fully developed.

Thank you to our wonderful tour guides Lauren, Geralyn, and Stephanie who stayed after hours to give the Ambassadors a personal tour. We recommend this attraction to anyone and everyone who loves animals. And don’t forget about the new “Zip the Zoo” attraction at the Alligator Farm where one can zip line over all the different species and get a “birds-eye view” of the enclosures.

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