There’s Actually a LOT of Alligators In Michigan, And They’re in Athens
There's been a LOT of Alligators in the news around Kalamzoo lately. Earlier this summer, an alligator was found in the Kalamazoo River in Calhoun County. Then, Tuesday, Police in Kalamazoo captured a young alligator crossing Lake Street.
It's baffling as to HOW these alligators ended up in Michigan, but nonetheless, they're here. And when they're captured, they typically end up in one place - the Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary in Athens.
After Tuesday morning's brave capture in Kalamazoo, the sanctuary excitedly posted about the find.
The Sanctuary has been home to hundreds of reptiles for years, only open to the public for five months, starting in May, and they have dozens of Alligators in varying sizes. None of their animals are bought, sold or traded. In fact, all of them are brought in through adoption, donation, rescue, or from other institutions.
Two of their most famous gators are Godzilla & Medusa. Godzilla is more than 30 years old and 11 feet long. Medusa is about he same age, and 9 feet long.
They've also got a pretty good set of "lungs" on them.
But there's dozens more in other enclosures.
Young alligators, up to 5 years old, are put in the "Elementary - Outdoor Swamp" which puts the small young alligators in an open-air enclosure with other young turtles and growing gators. They will then graduate to the "Middle School - Outdoor Swamp," where you'll hear most of the alligator posturing and "bellowing" that makes them such intimidating animals.
In addition to the alligators, the Critchlow Sanctuary has one Nile Crocodile named Lyle, who was rescued from New York in 2017. He is the only Crocodile in the sanctuary, and easy to tell apart from the rest of the gators by his pointed nose.
But it's not just Alligators, AND Lyle. The sanctuary is also home to dozens of turtles and tortoises, and other reptiles that they have taken in. You can actually "Adopt" some of their animals on their website.
Sadly (but wisely), that doesn't mean you can take them home, but sponsoring a specific animal will help the sanctuary provide food, care, and facility upgrades for the animals.
And if you feel so inclined, there are actual Animal Encounters, where you would be able to "handle" and pet an alligator in person.
Pretty amazing stuff that this sanctuary does for animals that are nowhere NEAR native to Michigan. And if we keep finding alligators in and around the Kalamazoo area, at least we know they'll have a nice home to go to when they're caught.