On a recent marshland tour withAirboats and Alligators, I had the opportunity to hold my first alligator!
On the airboat ride, owner Ben Welch taught me the difference between a man-made canal that the pipeline industry uses and a natural bayou through the coastal marshes.
After we had the wind blown in our faces, we ventured to his back yard to the alligator pond. We had the opportunity to see alligator eggs that would be hatching in late August.
I learned that Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge in Grand Chenier, La. was instrumental in saving the American Alligator from extinction years ago. When the eggs are taken from the nests to put in incubators, which helps most of them survive, the farmers use the same natural vegetation where they found the eggs to keep the moisture content perfect.
The sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature in the nest. Temperatures of 86˚ F or lower produces a clutch of females, while those of 93 ˚ F or higher produces entirely males.