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Zoo news: Cool gator ready for winter
zoo courtesy gator
Above: 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 caption on Facebook reads: This afternoon zoo-keepers had to catch our two male alligators to move them to winter holding due to declining overnight temps. Ally, the smaller of the two, grew 12 inches and gained 27 pounds since May. Alvin, the older and larger gator, grew 5 inches and gained 35 pounds, making him 7 feet 5 inches long and 160 pounds. Unfortunately, now that they are in their winter house they cannot be seen by the public. We are currently fundraising to build them a new winter house that will allow visitors to view them year round! In 2017, the fundraising continues for this project. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Alvin the alligator did not want to be caught recently when workers at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo attempted to move him to warmer winter quarters. So, while Allister, the other ‘gator on the pond, is in a temperature-controlled area, Alvin is still outside for zoo visitors to view.
Zoo Director and Curator Sara Hamlin described it this way:
“We were outsmarted by one of our alligators this year so Alvin remains on their pond. We’ve added an aerator — in addition to the continually running water on the pond — to prevent the pond from freezing. While this is not their native habitat we are confident that he will get through the winter just fine. We continue with our fundraising efforts in hopes that we will have a enough money to build a winter house next year so that we don’t have to worry about not being able to catch them.”

Meanwhile, over at the Ed Shed ...
Zoo employees were also kept busy recently when the large tank for saltwater fish sprung a leak in the Education Building. Zookeeper Ashley Burdick quickly switched the saltwater fish to a new tank while a replacement was ordered. The fish are back in the tank along with some new rocks and corals.
Burdick also decided to redo the small freshwater tank that now features several types of schooling fish along with lots of water plants. She is currently working on renovating the small salt tank, which needed updating because many of the rocks had fallen.
Unlike Alvin, visitors to the zoo have some warm, indoor options on cooler days. Check out the aquariums and other exhibits in the Education Building or visit the Raptor Center to learn about birds of prey and maybe pick up a few stocking stuffers in the gift shop.

The zoo’s Facebook page has this video of the alligators being released back onto the pond last April:
There is also a video from October 2016 of a successful alligator catch: