In the summer of 2012, work began on two new habitats for Al, a fabulous heated indoor swamp and a large outdoor enclosure with a big pond and basking areas. After months of hard work, hundreds of hours of volunteer labor, and a couple of nicely-timed heavy rainfalls, the 3000+ gallon indoor pond was full and the indoor swamp habitat was ready for Al.
We hosted a well-attended "housewarming" fundraiser in March 2013. After an alligator presentation in our education center, we moved the group and Al to his new space, and his supporters were able to witness Al's very first release into his new home!
Since Al moved into his new quarters, his personality really developed and changed. Previously, he had been a pretty nice alligator, fairly predictable in a cantankerous alligator sort of way, but very quiet for the most part - in retrospect perhaps a little bored? In his new home, Al moves about a lot, spending time swimming in the pond, crawling among the plants, basking on his heated "beach", chilling on the boardwalk, and chasing minnows. He started "bellowing" occasionally, which he had never done before. From time to time, he even makes a sweet purring sound at feeding time!
His new habitat is complete with a "bayou shack" porch where visiting groups can view and learn about Al while we introduce and feed him. The feel is downright swamp-ish: the room is warm and very humid, a great climate for both Al and all the greenery.
As we are able to bring in more funds, we will complete work on his outdoor summer pond. A wide boardwalk will be built right above his pond, and scheduled groups will be able to view Al swimming, basking in the sunshine, or chomping on some raw chicken if it's feeding time! Your donations can help us provide a safe, healthy habitat where this alligator can grow and continue as a great animal ambassador.
Click on the photos to enlarge and read more of the story of Al's new habitat.