The crack of eggs was heard at the Australian Reptile Park early yesterday morning, not of the chocolate variety, but still a very welcome surprise a week before Easter! Two adorable baby alligators have hatched, following their incubation in late December and looking like something from Jurassic Park. The prehistoric pair have been affectionately named “Thor” and “Loki” after the loveable (and cheeky) set of brothers from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Head of Reptiles Jake Meney, said of the new arrivals “We are just stoked with the arrival of our little dinosaur look-a-likes! They are so small at the moment and can fit in the palm of my hand, it’s crazy to think that they’ll grow up to be 3-4 metres one day!”
“They hatched overnight but we were lucky to catch one of them just as he finished emerging from the egg. Today, they went for their first swim – it’s just like your baby taking its first steps, I was so proud!”
Keepers at the Australian Reptile Park “raided” the alligator nests to incubate eggs, prevent them being eaten by cannibalistic alligators and to protect them from the harsh Australian summer. In the extremely dangerous annual “Gator Raid”, three keepers restrain the female alligator while two other keepers raid the nest.
Mr Meney continued “You’ll find baby alligators in The Lost World of Reptiles exhibit at the Australian Reptile Park for the upcoming holidays and they’re always one of the cutest residents when they’re on display. They will eventually be moved to our massive Gator Lagoon when they reach around 2 metres in length, which is in approximately 5 to 8 years.”
Alligators are found in the swamps and bayous of the southeastern USA. Wetland clearance and polluted drains and water are the main threats to alligators. They are also shot by humans quite frequently because they are seen as a danger; however, alligators are much more timid than crocodiles. Males are much larger than females reaching over 5 metres in length.