When it comes to learning about how the animals are cared for at Wild Florida, there is no better source than the keepers themselves. While we have many animal keepers at Wild Florida (ensuring that all of our animals are properly taken care of), we asked Kylie to share about the ins and outs of gator keeping. We do a lot more than just babysit when it comes to watching over our Wildlife Park alligators.
Most of the alligators you see at Wild Florida are actually rescued alligators. We work with a local trapper who will bring gators to us that have been labeled as a nuisance to the community. Many times this happens because gators have been fed by people. It's illegal to feed alligators in the wild, but it still happens far too often. Alligators are intelligent creatures that will lose their fear of people over time when they are fed this way.
In working with the local trapper, we are actually rescuing gators who would have otherwise been destroyed. It's a win for everyone, really. Once these alligators reach our Wildlife Park, the real fun begins! Read on to see what insight Kylie has on caring for gators at Wild Florida...
Not only do we take care of the gators at Wild Florida, our guests have a hand in it, too. At Wild Florida, visitors are able to safely feed our alligators (we're not breaking any laws here!). We sell a Mazuri Crocodilian diet, which is basically meat and nutrients in a biscuit form. Our gators love it! We also have a gator feeding show twice a day during which they are fed raw meat. Fun fact: alligators have been known to go up to a whole year without eating!
Large adult alligators cannot be housed with smaller gators. Because of this, we have multiple ponds to keep the gators separated by size. At Wild Florida, you can find our smallest gators near the covered dock where you wait for the airboat tours, while our larger gators are housed in our gator pond in the Wildlife Park.
With proper housing and a good diet, we've got healthy, happy alligators. However, medical situations do come up occasionally. A common issue we have is parasites. We recently took in a very big alligator who needed medical attention because due to parasites. As you can imagine, a very large needle is needed to get through an alligator's tough skin. We were able to safely restrain our newest gator in order to get him the proper medication he needed. Fun fact: Alligators have been found to have special antibodies in their blood to help fight infection!
Alligators have been on earth since the prehistoric period, which means they are very well adapted to survive many different conditions... but we're pretty sure our accommodations (and care) are top notch! Interested in seeing for yourself? Come on out!