Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gatorland! (and other rare animal sitings)

In my travels to Orlando earlier this week, I found myself at the best damn theme park in Orlando. Disney World? no. Univeral Studios? hellz no. Sea World? nope. I found my self in Gatorland! Yeah, It rocked!!!

You may have seen pictures of the gift shop with the big gator mouth you walk through to enter. Shockingly, that burnt down a few months ago. Surprise! So I didn't have that experience, but that is only complaint you will hear here.

Imagine a zoo where 90% of the animals you see are gators and crocodiles. After that there are a few snakes, a really old bear that I felt kind of sorry for because it walked with a limp, and a few giant tourtises.

They also have a few shows to watch. The one I visited was called Jumparoo!!! It is exactly what the name implies. The experience Gator handlers of Gatorland attach chickens (chickens you get at the grocery store, not live chickens mind you) to wires hanging a few feet above the pool of gators. With a little coaxing the gators jump for the chicken to earn their meal. It is cool to see these gators going for it. The show is done with a game show theme that involve cheering on the gators and the handlers. It is fun.

There is also the classic gator wrestling show, but I opted to walk around the park and see some of the gators in there "natural" habitat. It really is very close to their natural habitat. The park consits of 110 acres where most of it covered by a large lake and brush for the gators.

Walking around, I was able to see some rather large crocodiles. There was a Salt Water Croc, a Cuban Croc, and a few Nile Crocodiles. I got one picture I am rather proud of . . . .

What I like about this photo is the reflection of the crocodile and the fact that his mouth is open which is always a nice show.

I also took in an impromtu example of nature. While walking, there was a rustling in the bushes next to me, followed by what sounded like a chirping noise. The chirping continued. I stopped and poked my head in the bushes to see what was the matter. It appeared that a very small snake managed to have a firm hold of a frog's leg in its mouth. The frog did not really enjoy the situation and was chirping while trying to wrestle out of the snake's grip. Well, the frog was on the losing side. I decided that I had no right help the frog out of the situation. Besides who am I to deny the snake a well earned meal, and the frog would die without two working legs. Within a few minutes, the snake swallowed the entire frog's leg. I left to allow the snake to enjoy a peaceful meal. Afterall, frog legs are a french delicacy.

After that real nature show, I went on to see a few tourtises and called it a day. Gatorland did not disappoint. This final image is actually 3 images, I blended together. This gator was HUGE!!! He was a "nucisance" gator that was eating people's pets in Tampa. Well, the authorites were going to kill it but Gatorland hoped on the ball to save the poor guy. They are going to release him to rest of the park once they are sure he has no illnesses that could harm the other gators.

On a side note, I saw a very rare bread of animal known as a Kyle T. while in Orlando. He is alive!!! No shit. I sat down and saw him drink a beer with these very eyes!


Shane said...

My dad went to Gatorland and he has a pretty sweet picture of him wrestling with a gator.

And by wrestling with a gator, I mean sitting on the back of it posing for a picture while it's mouth is clamped closed with a giant rubber band.

Charles said...

I saw that and thought it would be sweet but then figured that a picture of a 6 foot dood on a 5 foot gator aint that impressive.