25 days “over there”

The last days over here.

The last real trip we took was to a Alligator farm in the Everglades. It is located on the mainland of Florida so an hour of driving from our hotel we found it. Since it is part of the everglades it had to be located far out in the bush. So far out that we actually had to pass a prison, and that is far out.

Didn’t expect there to be any people, but there were actually more people than one should think. Not that it is crowded at all. Like all touristplaces you walk through a souvenirshop first. Good thing we can’t carry with us too much home.

Once inside the park we got to see some large snakes, panters, lizard and other small creatures. They were in cages that made it impossible to get good pictures, so no point in showing them. Enough to say that the largest snakes were around 5-7 meter (15-20 feet). Later we heard that one of the snakes in there was just delivered from someone that couldn’t care for it anymore, just after it ate the other housepet (it came in to the park with a big lump on the middle). In the last month the state of Florida has captured 2000 snakes that isn’t native to the state.

We did take a few pictures of some pretty geese that was in there.

After these small cages we got to the main attraction, the alligators. But first we saw a couple of crocodiles. The first one was Ms.Toothy. She was having her pond washed and we stopped to talk to the keeper.



She was laying on the edge to the pond and looked at the keeper all the time. She seemed to tolerate him, but as the keeper said, if he didn’t pay attention then she would chase him down. Crocodiles are more dangerous than alligators cause crocs wants to eliminate all threats, while alligators will rather move away. As you can see on the last pictures, the keeper kept spraying water on her to let her know that he was paying attention. We were the only ones staying there watching and talking to the keeper, so suddenly he took out 3 teeth from his pockets and gave them to us. They were teeth from Ms.Toothy that he had found this morning. Free souvenir from the park.

Over to the main pool with all the big crocodiles. No point in trying to count them, most of them will be on land later on. Just hope that you don’t meet one of those when you go to swim.

After looking around it was time to go to the snakeshow. They didn’t show much, but at least we got to handle a couple of snakes. Only constrictors, none of the 4 snakes in Florida with venom. It is strange how they feel, nothing like one expects.

After this show it was time for the main reason for us being here. The trip on the swampboat. That was a great trip. 20 people on a flatbottomed boat with a huge helicopterrotor on the end. It can’t get much more fun than that on a boat. I did manage to get a picture of a turtle before we went out though, or at least the head as it looked up at us.

It was going to be a wet ride, so we were adviced to put down our cameras unless they were waterproof. So no stillphotos from the trip. I did however take the chance on using the videocamera so we did get quite a few minutes with high speed racing over the water on film. We were in speeds up to 35 miles/h (55 km/h). And he turned 360 degrees around from time to time. Way more fun that any rollercoaster, and you do get wet. If you get the chance to go on such a trip, then do.

Back on land we went to see the breedingground they had for the alligators. 5 different stages according to when they hatch. From very small to up in their “teens”.

We also got to feed some of them. Bought some small bits of food. There were some birds that have learned that they also might get a snack, but it is a risky business to try to take food from alligators.


 Now it was time to see a little show with some info about the alligators. Back to the same stage as we were with the snakes. Alligators were on the endangered species in Florida, but not anymore.

She showed us the blindspots on an alligator. It can’t see anything straight ahead or right behind. That is why you see those wrestlers that can jump up on the alligator from behind. We saw that later too on the feeding. She also took out a few small alligators, taped their mouths and let us hold them. As with the snakes, they don’t feel anything like you think. Very nice to hold, a little colder than us and very soft skin.

And now it was time for the feeding of the alligators in the big pond. Remember all those in the water. Now they all came up on land, or at least those that could find some room. Fish was on the meny.

 It was time to leave now. Been here a lot longer than we thought, and almost went on another drive with the swampboat. So we’ll let Ms.Toothy say goodbye from here.

 We were done for the day, and actually done for this trip. So now all we have to do is get on the plane and go home. Thursday morning we will hopefully get on the road towards Miami airport and mid-day friday we’ll be back in Norway. Might be a last post when we get home. Thanks for following us on this long trip along the roads of USA.

October 14th, 2008 at 11:49 pm

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