See you later, Alligator....

Trip Start Aug 13, 2007
Trip End Nov 12, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Off to the Everglades Alligator Farm today After paying our $57!!! to get in, we went to an Alligator show first. The man taking the show was called Jeremy, and he was really hard case and entertaining to watch. He called out to Kate asking if she would come down and help with the 2 medium sized gators and she was quite willing to go, but he was only teasing. I felt sorry for the gators as he dragged them out in front of the audience by their tails (further away from their teeth the better, he said), but boy did they make this eerie hissing sound - not happy gators! After he'd told us a bit about them and showed us how he could hold the gator's mouth open with his chin (!!) we got the chance to hold a small alligator & take photos. The baby alligator was about 50cm long and had his little jaws taped shut so he couldn't bite, but he didn't wriggle much and was obviously used to being handled. Fred, Josh & I both held him, but Kate only wanted to give him a quick pat.
Then off on our wild Airboat ride next. We saw quite a few smaller gators out in the Everglades, and a number of turtles swam up to the boat when we were going slow. We also saw a couple of beautiful white Egret birds before the driver cranked up the engine and we shot off - the driver did a number of 180 & 360 degree turns, spraying water everywhere & in one instance sending a small wave of water over me! My pants & bottom of t-shirt were absolutely saturated! When we got off I had to stay in my wet clothes for a while longer as we wanted to watch the gators being fed. After lunch (and a quick change for me) we went to the snake show - taken by Jeremy again. He told us about the 4 venomous snakes in Florida (out of a total of 42 different species that reside here) - the Rattlesnake, Coral snake, Copperhead & Cottonmouth. He then picked a volunteer - Josh! - to put his hand into a pillowcase and pick up a snake - of which he said was one of the four venomous kinds. Of course we knew he was joking, but Josh didn't, yet he didn't hesitate to pick the snake up! After Josh had been holding the snake for a minute, Jeremy let him off the hook & told him it was a harmless Pine snake. He then called for another volunteer & picked a little 6 year old boy from the audience who said he didn't like snakes. The man got him to touch this tiny python, and asked if he was brave enough to hold the snake. The boy put his hand out for it, but Jeremy said he had another snake for him to hold, and made him shut his eyes - while he grabbed this 2 metre python and then draped it across his shoulders! I felt so sorry for this little kid, he was so brave and even though he looked scared, he didn't run. I thought Jeremy took it too far when he started coiling the snake around the boys neck and making jokes about how the snake wasn't hungry as it had eaten a kid the day before!
After the show we had the opportunity to have the large python around our neck for photos. Josh leapt up and was first in line! Kate wouldn't even pat the snake (not surprising after watching that little boy's face) but I held him (he was pretty heavy) and then even Fred (who HATES snakes - and could hardly stand to be in the snake house earlier) let Jeremy drape the python around his shoulders for about 30 seconds! Check out the photo of Fred's face! We also saw a Florida Panther there (an endangered species), who looked hot & bored pacing in his cage. We bought a couple of souvenirs from the shop - I got a t-shirt with a gators head and the words 'Bite Me!' on it, ha ha. We drove through the Everglades (only a small part of them) where we encountered the occasional very heavy shower (which still only dropped the temperature down to 29 degrees!) to a campground in Naples, Florida.
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