Want some advice about alligators?
#3 Orland0 Florida
Don’t come to me. I’m visiting here in Orlando, Florida with my California neighbors, Carmen and Taliah and friend, Janice from Tennessee. And we’ve come to Gatorland to see and learn about alligators.
Do you love Strange Inheritances? This is not Gatorama, but Gatorland is farther north, 18 miles or 30 minutes from Orlando, also a family-owned business.
When to Visit Gatorland
I’ve been to Florida in August, and I don’t recommend it. However, going to Gatorland in March is perfect. There weren’t many mosquitos. The day I wore body lotion, the bugs loved me, but as long as I didn’t smell, the bugs didn’t bother me.
It’s warm in the sun, but walking through the covered pathways is pleasant even in mid-afternoon.
The covers provided some shade to the alligators as well. Unlike dolphins, which you will read about in another post, alligators don’t have sensitive skin. Their black coloring makes them almost invisible in the water.
The next gator would have been tricky to see if he had been cruising underwater.
Gatorland groups gators by age and color. The young ones are first in line.
Bigger than Life
Towards the rear of the walkway lives the Brutus of Gatorland, Chester. Just as I was closing in to take pictures of Chester, Carmen swooped in and shooed us down to the Gator wrestling show, which was well worth the rush. Poor Carmen, she had to mother all of us to keep us on track to see everything.
When we came back, Chester was pooped. Here is Diego Centeno’s YouTube video of Chester.
Real Gator Wrestling
Sure, it’s easy to wrestle a gator if you watch the actor. No sweat. He chose a volunteer to come out on the sandy platform with him to pick out a lazy gator. The youngster refused. So the youngster pointed to a swimming alligator instead of the sleepy sunbathing gators.
Mr. Gator Wrestler grabbed that little gator by the tail and dragged it ashore. Kicking the other gators aside, he began his show.
Miss Gator seemed to be dragging her feet a bit. She was not the shining star that Nicholas is. You’ll see him in another post.
The G-Wrestler asked the crowd to name the most dangerous part of the alligator. Some poor soul shouted, “Tail.”
Probably the respondent was a plant in the audience. Either that or he didn’t watch Mr. G-Wrestler drag Miss Gator out onto the sandy stage.
Mr. G-Wrestler proceeded to show us how easy it was to lose fingers and hands in the G-wrestling business. He somehow pried open the gator’s mouth and withdrew as it snapped shut.
It doesn’t take much pressure to hold a gator’s mouth shut. The trainer held it with his chin. I hope the gator smelled good.
Other Animals that Repulse and Intrigue
The next actors thrilled the audience by letting volunteers participate, usually with their eyes closed at first. The rest of the audience responded with appropriate scared noises, which didn’t seem to bother the volunteers. They had probably checked out someone’s blog post before going to Gatorland and knew what was coming.
You can’t see what he’s putting on her hand. It’s a tarantula.
Taliah’s favorite, though not venomous, was the snake. We saw the same snake curled up in his house, and we could have crawled into the house with him if we had chosen to do so.
White Alligators Are Rare
Three of only twelve leucistic gators exist here at Gatorland. Apparently, they are not personable.
It was hard to get up close, so I let Taliah take the first shot at him. She got a little annoyed with me taking pictures of her taking pictures, but it was fun watching her quickly manipulate the image with her thumbs before saving it.
Up close, he didn’t look too scary since there was a glass wall between us and he had his eyes closed.
Birds Kicked at the Gators
A gator could snap a bird’s leg off in a second, but that fact did not seem to worry any of these feathery creatures. We saw one bird kick her spindly leg at a gator swimming towards her with his mouth open. The gator turned and swam away. That was not the response I expected.
This mutton-headed bird dared to bark orders to the alligators on the feeding deck. Don’t you love its geometric shadow?
Gatorland rated lower than Bloggy Creek but higher than most of the Animal Kingdom on the Entertainment Scale.
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