Sunrise Out My Front Door

Sunrise Out My Front Door
Sunrise Out My Front Door

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Visit to an Alligator Farm


April 21, 2019



I made my second  foray to Bacca National Wildlife Refuge, the third refuge in the San Luis Valley Refuge Complex to to put out my bee traps and to replenish all the first aid kits there. I had met a bee enthusiast on my first visit and he had promised to show me promising spots in the greenspace of the little town of Crestone and on the Rio Grande Forest Camp site. 

I put also put out bee traps on a couple of places on the refuge but no bees appeared in any of them. I decided I would leave early Sunday morning and visit the alligator farm between Bacca and Alamosa.  Saturday had turned cold, windy, and cloudy, but Sunday was a beautiful day with sunny, warm weather.  

I thought it might still be too cold for alligators to be out, but the place has a hot well so the water comes up warm enough to keep them happy.  

I arrived about nine and found that this place, although started as a tilapia farm in 1977, it has morphed into reptile rescue, a bird sanctuary, education and display. As I walked into the door to the first exhibit room, I had to stand aside to let a tortoise come outside. I had to step over boards that were fencing off other tortoises inside. I was amazed at all the large lizards and snakes they had in their inside exhibits. They also had baby alligators and other alligator relatives. 

They started seeing a few alligators to eat fish that died, then became a rescue place for alligators, snakes and lizards taken from homes by the state or relinquished to them when they got too big and dangerous to be household pets. 

I found the exhibits interesting and saw some species I hadn’t seen before. Outside, it felt cool, but looked southern with all the alligators. They have large pens with many alligators in them and smaller pens with one alligator in it, because the big males will fight, if they are kept together.  They even had one alligator that had stared in Dr. Dolittle and other movies before he got too large to safely handle and was retired here. 

I came in off season.  In the summer, I think they have alligator wrestling shows. 



View from the parking lot 

One of the many species of lizards

Nile monitor

Another lizard

The only rescued birds I found were these emus

Happily sunning gators

Red-eared sliders were also enjoying the sun

This was the prettiest turtle I saw - didn't see its name

This was one of two albino alligators

A pile of gators

This pen had a carved heron

This is the tortoise I had to move out of the doorway for

I thought this was a beautiful snake

In my personal life, I have been very busy helping the refuges get ready for their safety inspection. I located, documented, and inspected all the fire extinguishers at three refuges and either certified them for another year or pulled them to go out for their six year or twelve year tests.  Now I have to replace a few more fire extinguishers, and store the rest, either to be serviced next year to to be kept as extras in case we have to replace any of ours. I also inventoried the safety cabinets - we have them in all the offices and vehicles - and replaced out of date medicines. 

Now I’m starting to collect bees and spray for weeds. I have my own off road vehicle and spray fifty gallons at a time.  

After spending three days stuck in my house due to snow and rain - my car couldn't make it out and, if I used the work truck, I would have made it even worse - I spent 12 hours having fun.  Now I'm using wi-fi belonging to another staffer- he lets me - to put this old fun up.  

Hope you got to celebrate Mother's Day with your mother. 

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