Our Washington, DC, venue has added four baby American alligators! They’ve traveled from Savoie Alligator Farm in New Orleans to stay with us for a year. These alligators are one of only two species that don’t spend their whole lives at the Aquarium because of their size. American alligators can grow to a length of up to 15 feet; we can only accommodate them until they reach about 5 feet in length. Once they’ve exceeded that size, we transport them back to their home and return with four new babies!
One of our herpetologists (zoologist specializing in reptiles), Calvin Weaver, with a baby gator during its exit exam!
After going through standard precautionary measures to ensure their safety and the safety of our other species on exhibit, these gators are finally ready for their public debut. A brief quarantine period is essential to make sure that every animal in our care is stress-free and healthy. Animals that come to us from the wild are known to carry disease and parasites that could spread to other animals and even our staff, so it is very important to keep a close eye on all animals when they first arrive. Once our veterinarians and herpetologists determine that they have successfully finished their quarantine period, the alligators are given an exit exam and moved into their new habitat.
During the exit exam, our staff takes weight and length measurements, checks the flexibility of their limbs, and makes sure all those gator teeth are growing in properly. As of now, our baby gators each weigh about 3.5 pounds and are between 30–35 inches long.
Don't let their size fool you! These baby alligators are strong; it takes more than one staff member to keep them calm and still to complete their exit exam.
The American alligator, a species once considered endangered, is now thriving in the southeastern United States thanks to state and federal protections and habitat preservation efforts. Fully grown, they can weigh 1,000 pounds and pulse through freshwater rivers, lakes, and swamps at speeds up to 20 mph.
We are excited to welcome them and hope you can come meet them in person soon!