We were looking for something we hadn’t seen before, and alligators were top of the list! Expected to stumble in a full blown tourist trap and were positively surprised by the expansive enclosures, fitness of the animals and also the sheer count! Big reptiles are usually trouble makers in urban areas and relocated, sometimes directly to the butcher, but the biggest or most beautiful ones go to Gatorland, where they’re fed and cared for. Almost a zoo, but better.
These white herons are not waiting for the Gator Jumparoo Show, they’re here for the leftovers and dropped gator feed pellets that roll around on the board walk.
This one is especially cheeky, just waiting for it’s turn to grab the feed right from under the gator.
But the gators are super chill. They know it’s 2 pm and they’re being fed yummy chicken legs, so they do very pretty slow motion jumps.
Seems some are more pets than predators.
Probably should address the elephant in the room: Are gators crocodiles? No, alligators have U-shaped snouts, where crocs have pointed V-shaped noses. Also lower teeth in a closed snout are only visible in crocodiles, which also are more aggressive but better visible in the water because of their lighter coat.
Original Florida lunch choices lol – never thought I would see something like this in an actual restaurant.
And there’s more specialities, fascinating!
Some of the herons look unnaturally calm, almost fake. And then you enter their personal space and they flap their wings. Amazing.
Striking up a conversation with Amazon Parrots, Blue and Gold Macaws, and Cockatoos at the Parrot Playground. These two rather have some time alone.
Flamingos are a Florida icon – cheeky in pink, yet also refined, exotic and goofy on spindly legs, shy in the wild but brazen peddlers of Disney princesses and sand castles.
There are only estimated 400 flamingos left in the wild in Florida, good to know that the state’s whole flamingo population is less than 1% of the global numbers.
Here in Gatorland, they don’t have access to saltwater shrimp, the wonderful flamingo-red color comes from carotin pellets.
Greater flamingos live and feed in groups called flocks, stand, colony, pat or flamboyance. They find safety in numbers, which helps to protect individual birds from predators while their heads are down in the mud. Greater flamingos also breed while gathered in groups.
Flamingo legs actually bend just like human legs. What looks like a flamingo’s knee is really its ankle joint. A flamingo’s knees are located higher up the legs, hidden by the body and feathers. Confused? Think of a flamingo as standing on tiptoe. When the leg bends, it’s the ankle you see hinging.
These beauties are waiting for the Legends of the Swamp Show. One of them will be held, even for people to ride on and touch and in exchange get a fat snack.
And they play along nicely, phew.
Leucistic Alligators – Where Albinos have no pigment, leucistic animals have some. They’re mostly white with patches of color on their skin, this also gives them piercing blue eyes instead of the dark eyes a regular alligator might have, or the pink eyes associated with albinos.
Leucism is extremely rare among gators, and their chances of survival in the wild are basically zero. Without natural camoflage coloration they can’t hide from predators. Their white color is as useful as a neon sign sayin “Come and eat me” from a mile away!
That’s the albino.
Up close encounter with a group of gators – Yeah nah! Looking through the fence 5 meters away from where the music plays is enough for us!
A beautiful pair.
Soaking in the sun.
Hahaha these birds are not a decoration, when the finger comes to close, they move to the next pillar.
Can’t get enough of these clever birds!
Glad for my tele lens o.o
Never ever would I have liked to be that close to a gator anywhere else than on the high board walk.
Who gets away with the few gator pellets that a little girl just threw? The big, old guy has to fight for his right of first bite.
Gator nursery with some very interested guests.
Could have spent days here, but this was our last one here in Orlando. Not only in Florida, but in the US! Unbelievable how fast time went the past 2 months on the mainland. Good memories!