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Alligator Alley Birdsandbats' Alligator Alley Review

Discussion in 'United States' started by birdsandbats, 10 Aug 2019.

  1. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    17 Sep 2017
    Date of visit: August 9 2019

    Ah, Wisconsin Dells. This wonderful town is a classic example of ecotourism gone horribly wrong. Amidst all the water parks, moose-themed restaurants, and more hotels than you can count, is a little reptile zoo. I have in the past called many of the Wisconsin roadside facilities I have visited "interesting" due to the fact that they are so different than the AZA facilities most of us are used to visiting that they felt difficult to categorize. But this one takes the cake. I thought the motorcycle zoo was weird, but clearly I hadn't seen anything yet...

    Alligator Alley is a small reptile zoo/pet shop that opened its doors in 1996. They advertise "two-headed turtle and snake" as well as "feed the gators a live mouse" and "world's largest snapping turtle". It started out strange even in the parking lot. The parking lot contained multiple dirty diapers (?) and the store across the shared lot was still advertising that they sold fidget spinners. Upon walking in, the first thing I noticed was a wall of terrariums...all with price tags! I thought this was a zoo, not a pet shop! Most of the stuff sold was pretty normal (Common Leopard Gecko, Red-eared Slider) but I saw for $200 you could buy a gator hatching, and for $250 an Alligator Snapping Turtle! Just the kind of thing I want to buy, a turtle that could bite my arm off! I hadn't even paid admission yet!

    After paying, you walk through a gate into an area...lit with black lights? I'm not sure why, but while the exhibits themselves are lit with pretty normal lights, the hallway is lit entirely with black lights. This area is a full loop around a centerpiece American Alligator exhibit. It had lots of room and lots of gators, but suffered from a huge problem that almost all the exhibits have here: no hiding places. The vast majority of the enclosures here have no place to hide for the inhabitants. It's just a big pool with a little bit of elevated land, with nothing to see other than the animal itself. A few lucky animals get a couple of hiding spots, but the ones that do often have very little room; in fact most of the animals here have little room.

    One of the most concerning things about this facility is the amount of two-headed turtles. There weren't any here during my visit, but I saw pictures of two seperate two-headed turtles in the pet shop area: one a Red-eared Slider, and one a Common Snapping Turtle. In the gallery I saw of a photo by @snowleopard with a different two-headed turtle, meaning that they have had at least three! Where are they getting them...?

    Species List (there was little signage, so several species remain unidentified. I will post photos for ID):

    Species not seen in italics
    "Pet Store Area":
    1. American Alligator
    2. Leopard Gecko ("fancy pattern")
    3. Common Boa
    4. Common Boa (albino)
    5. Painted Turtle
    6. Yellow-bellied Slider
    7. Red-eared Slider (albino)
    8. American Alligator
    9. Alligator Snapping Turtle
    10. Axolotl
    11. Axolotl
    12. Nile Monitor
    13. Pac-Man Frog (albino)
    14. Mexican Red-knee Tarantula
    15. Black Emperor Scorpion
    16. Oriental Fire-bellied Toad
    17. Oriental Fire-bellied Toad
    18. Green Tree Frog

    "Zoo Area:
    1. American Alligator
    2. unidentified kingsnake (with two heads)
    3. Burmese Python (leucistic)
    4. unidentified snake
    5. Indian Spotted Pond Turtle, unidentified turtle species x2
    6. Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman
    7. Green Anaconda
    8. unidentified snapping turtle (signed as Florida Snapping Turtle. Any chance this is Macrochelys suwanniensis?)
    9. Alligator Snapping Turtle
    10. Common Snapping Turtle (albino)
    11. Matamata
    12. Red-eared Slider (albino), False Map Turtle, unidentified turtle species x3
    13. Philippine Sailfin Lizard
    14. American Alligator (albino)
    15. Burmese Python (albino)
    16. Green Anaconda
    17. Reticulated Python
    18. Green Anaconda
    19. Spectacled Caiman
    20. African Bullfrog
    21. Cane Toad
    22. unidentified amphiuma
    23. Eastern Tiger Salamander
    24. Pac-Man Frog (albino)
    25. Woodhouse's Toad (albino)
    Smaggledagle and snowleopard like this.