Australian Reptile Park keepers undertook a highly dangerous alligator nest raid American Alligator lagoon. Home to over 40 alligators, the process involves keepers wrangling an Alligator, taping its mouth for protection and removing up to 50 eggs from nests. The mothers are in a high maternal state and keen to guard their eggs, making them very aggressive, hence the caution alert of extremely dangerous!
Unbeknown to the alligators the nest raid comes with their best interests at heart. Native to swamps and wetlands in south-eastern United States, the American Alligator’s eggs won’t hatch in Australia’s hot climate. The eggs removed during the nest raid will be incubated and hatch in about 70 days with their sex determined by the temperature at which they’re incubated.
Commenting on the process, Tim Faulkner, General Manager and Head of Conservation said, “We firstly must get past the band of aggressive females guarding their nests, they will get agitated by our approach. If we set a foot wrong they will go for us making it a very dangerous procedure.”
In the wild, American Alligators guard their eggs until they hatch, then gently dig the hatchlings out, take them in her mouth to the water and protect them while they grow and learn survival skills. The biggest threat to a baby alligator is another alligator, as the species are cannibalistic.
The Australian Reptile Park has the largest population of American alligators in Australia. They are kept in a large naturalistic lagoon, with alligators living harmoniously together in a matter that isn’t possible with their more aggressive relatives, Australian crocodiles.