*UPDATE*: Due to the extreme flooding in South Carolina as a result of hurricane Joaquin, the alligator will not be transported on the originally planned date. The gator will remain on exhibit until we have received word that Alligator Adventure is ready for his arrival. Please feel free to come by and enjoy our American Alligator through his extended stay!*
Tuesday, October 6th, will be your last chance to come and see our large gator in the Cypress Swamp habitarium. At almost 7 1/2 feet and weighing around 125 lbs, the big guy has just grown too large for his small exhibit, especially since he will likely double in size over his lifetime!
Our exhibit male was acquired in 2011 from Gator Productions in Florida, and in just a few short years has managed to almost completely outgrow his exhibit (this is a perfect example as to why no one should ever own a gator as a “pet”). Because the Virginia Living Museum does not have the facilities to house large gators, our exhibit alligator will be transferred down to Alligator Adventure, (SC). There he will have access to a larger space and the care necessary for a reptile his size.
While the exhibit is unoccupied, herpetology staff will be working hard to refinish the exhibit glass. Years of wear and tear from our gators has left the surface marred with scratches and scuffs, and the herps team hopes to make the exhibit more visible to our guests. While drained, staff will also deep clean the exhibit and ensure that all systems, pumps, and filters are in proper working order (the chance may not come around again for a few years).
But worry not, gator fans! After his departure, the large alligator will have a replacement: our young gator currently used for educational programs. At less than 4 feet in length, this little guy will have a huge exhibit to fill, and guests will be able to watch him grow up over the next several years. Because the exhibit will have so much space with such a young gator, the herpetology team is happy to announce that another animal will be exhibited in the same enclosure: our common snapping turtle.
While we are sad to see our alligator go, we are thrilled that we can continue building our professional relationship with other facilities, and provide new opportunities for the Virginia Living Museum. And thanks to the efforts of the folks down at Alligator Adventure, our big guy will be given care that would have been difficult to provide at our own facility.
So come on down to the Virginia Living Museum this week and say goodbye to our American Alligator!