Alligator Rescue

As I’ve probably said about a million times, there is no place like the San Luis Valley in Colorado and yesterday I revisited one of the places that proves that point. Colorado Gator Farms. Because of the basin range geology here — two mountain ranges pulling in opposite directions — there are are lot of hot springs all around this valley and one of these runs through the Gator Farm or the gator farm was built on it.

Allow me to elucidate. You have all probably lost sleep wondering what happens to movie star alligators and crocodiles. There happens to be a rescue here (of all places). You might be wondering WHY (as I have wondered) there needs to be a rescue for alligators of all creatures, but… A couple of the alligators were formerly movie stars. There are some white alligators, some caimans, some crocodiles, rescued tortoises, rattlesnakes, corn snakes, rosy boas — pet store reptiles that got too big and dangerous to be pets. Having lived with a red tailed boa and a green iguana I actually feel for these creatures who shouldn’t be pets — they grow to be quite large and need habitats most people couldn’t provide — but who are still pretty amazing to live with. Alligators, though, why anyone would want a pet alligator is beyond me…

It’s one of Lois’ son’s favorite places so we went. First of all, it’s ugly. It’s NOT the place people think of when they conjure up a mental image of Colorado. Second, it’s designed for alligators. I never thought of the ideal world for alligators, especially alligators living at 8000 feet in a four season place, but now I know what it would be. There’s a sign in front that says, “This is a working farm. It smells.” It does but not particularly bad. The place started as a tilapia farm, but the tilapia population got out of control and then, to control the tilapia overgrowth…alligators. And from there?

As with any tourist trap there are photo opportunities and you can’t get through the front door without posing with an alligator and no, I don’t understand the expression on my face here, but the alligator was made to smile. The people who work there could have seasonal jobs as carnival barkers. They are truly not like the other kids, but I like them.

If you’ve never held an alligator I can tell you they are pretty cool. Solid, firm, calm if held properly. This is a baby. The other photo is me in the 90s with Ananda, the red tail boa I was snake-sitting.

24 thoughts on “Alligator Rescue

  1. You have found a very cool road trip destination. That alligator smile is just crazy! The sign is a kick – it gets right to the point. 🙂

  2. First I would definitely want to visit the place – second I love that you held the gator! And lastly I think it is just as much a treat for you to visit as it is for Bear and Teddy to do a smell-o-vision tour once you are home!!!

    • I loved having my friends here. It was really great. It was my fourth trip to the Gator Farm but I like the smaller reptiles and there were tortoises they’ve rescued who were charming. It’s nice to see how much my friend’s son enjoys it.

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