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Zoo News: Alligator building under construction
A foundation has been poured for an alligator building.
Keepers at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo pose for a photo in October 2016 after catching one of the alligators so it could be moved to winter quarters. The alligators are now too big to move and have spent recent winters outdoors, but construction has begun on an alligator house connected to their pond where they can be moved without having to catch them.

The two alligators at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo won’t have to spend this winter outdoors because construction on an alligator building has begun. In July, Sharkey Construction finished the concrete portion of the structure, Zoo Curator and Supervisor Ashley Burdick said. Work on the actual building should begin next week and is expected to be completed in a month or two. 

“The zoo houses two adult American Alligators, Alvin and Allister, who are about 16 and 13 years old and around 8-9 feet long,” Burdick said.

“We used to have to capture the gators by hand every fall and spring to move them, but due to their increasing size, this method became unsafe. This new building will have a water area and a land area to keep the gators nice and toasty in the winter. The building will connect to their current pond/yard area and they will move back outside every spring. This building will also have a viewing window, so visitors can enjoy our alligators year-round.” 

The alligators were last captured and moved inside in October 2016. The next year, zookeepers were able to catch Allister but Alvin did not cooperate and spent the winter outdoors. An aerator was added to the continually running water on the pond to prevent it from freezing.

While Kansas is not their native habitat, the alligators have shown they can get through the winter by burrowing into the mud. However, adding a winter house on-site has been a goal since 2017.

Ed Shed remodeling continues

Burdick said the remodeling of the building formerly known at the Ed Shed is in the final stages. “It should be available for rentals in the fall.”