Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Friday, May 22, 2015

Kliebert's Alligator Farm

We checked off one more thing on our "Louisiana To Do" list today when we went to the Kliebert's Alligator Farm in Hammond. We joined a tour in progress, because we didn't want to wait for another hour for the next one. The first pond we passed was full of turtles--about 500 of them--but all you could see were little black heads popping out of the water. It wasn't a great picture so it didn't make the blog.

As we were passing the pond we smelled probably the #1 worst stench we've experienced since arriving in LA. It's was a dead alligator's rotting carcass in the next pond, and it makes me gag just thinking about it. I certainly wasn't going to stand in that nauseatingly repulsive spot long enough to take a picture!

You'll notice that every pond is a lovely shade of green. (It reminded me of when we picked Ryan up from his mission in Mexico. One of his favorite families took us on a picnic, and when we arrived I thought, "what a beautiful lawn." Oops! It was the pond--complete with it's own cocodrilo. No bueno!) It's called duckweed and covered every bit of water on the whole property. So, here's the point I'm getting to. Big Easy, the alligator below, came from the back of the pond all the way to the front, without so much as a ripple, to get a chicken snack. There wasn't a sound or movement, and he was so slow that you couldn't even tell he was moving.
Big Easy--the stealthy 57 year old alligator
Our tour guide--I don't know if the hand is a result of working at an alligator farm, but it would certainly make a good story:)
"Say Ahh!"
Notice the back of his throat is completely closed off by the palatal valve which closes to keep water out of his throat, stomach and lungs when .he's submerged. This is part of the rather unique "air tight" system of a gator. Also they can stay underwater for lengthy periods of time. One of the longest the guide knew of was 24 hours.
Big Easy is one of the 250 eggs that hatched here in 1957. All 250 gators are still living there, but we certainly didn't see them.
Just another relaxing day in paradise
So, a gator will  catch it's food but then has to turn it's head sideways to swallow. I'm pretty sure there was no chewing going on in the process.
I must say, this was a great shot of gator X swallowing his chicken. 
The gator on the right is Crush, who is very territorial. He has his own "space" and doesn't allow other males in his private neighborhood. However, he does allow up to 5 or 6  females to enter.
Part of Crush's domain
This is what becomes of male intruders who enter Crush's territory--seriously! This WAS a 13' gator.
The capture
Eyes, Ears, Mouth and Nose--all parts of the same airtight system.
Alligators have 2 sets of eyelids. The outer ones are like human eyelids and close top to bottom. The inner lids are clear and close from back to front. While gators are kicking back or swimming the inner eyelids protect their eyes and still allow them to see underwater. 
Flaps close off the ears and nostrils from water
Yep! That's where you need to aim your .22 if you want gator steaks and a new  wallet, belt and handbag. If you use a larger caliber it will probably ricochet of his or her very armor-like skull.
Gumbo the Crocodile--notice the pointy snout, unlike the rounded one of an alligator
"The better to eat you with, my dear!" Serious teeth.
The Yellow Alligator which I know nothing about nor could find anything except folklore. I was still taking pictures of the crocodile and missed whatever was said about this guy:(
The last "to-do" on my Louisiana Bucket List. Supposedly he weighs about 50 lbs. I never picked up 50 lbs. that easily, so my guess is more like 30.

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