Here in Madeira Beach, it’s back to school week. Boy, have we had a fun summer and we hope you have too. But it’s time to get back to learning.
Those lucky visitors to Alligator Attraction never stopped learning over the summer.
One of the things we hear frequently from parents and educators who visit Alligator Attraction is that we make learning fun. Children leave here with some great memories of animal interactions but also facts about the species that live here. We love watching the children’s eyes light up as they begin to comprehend what it means to be part of an environment and how we all depend on each other to some extent.
While alligators draw most people to our attraction, they’re not the only animals we have. Visitors are often surprised when they see the wide variety of animal friends that call Alligator Attraction home.
In keeping with our dedication to education, we thought we’d compile some extra fun facts about the non-gator animals that live and play at Alligator Attraction. We’ve also included some “curious questions” to ask your kids as you share these facts.
- The bearded dragon is named “bearded” for the area under its chin which can turn black when it feels threatened or senses a rival nearby. Curious question: who do you know who has a beard?
- Leopard geckos are nocturnal in the wild and spend their days under rocks or in burrows.
- The personalities of Argentinian Black and White Tegu are often likened to cats. They can be quite friendly and enjoy being held…on their terms. Curious question: what’s the friendliest animal you know?
- The Blue Iguana is one of the longest-living lizards. It can live up to 67 years.
- The Veiled Chameleon, also known as the cone-head chameleon, has a tongue that is one and a half times its body length.
- The Cuban Knight Anole is the largest anole at 13-20 inches. Curious question: why do you think the lizard is called a “knight.”
- Although they are often thought of as lizards, Ornate Monitors are more closely related to snakes.
- The Pink-toed Tarantula lives in trees and throws hairs from its body in defense against a predator. Curious question: If you were named after your favorite color, what would we call you?
- Pygmy Hedgehogs are born with 6,000 quills. Their quills serve as armor not weapons as they can’t be launched.
- Skinny Pigs are a variety of Guinea Pig but they are generally hairless except on their muzzles, feet, and legs. Because of this, they need to eat more than their hairy cousins to maintain their body heat. Curious question: Would you shave yourself bald so you could eat more?
- Guinea Pigs jump in the air when they’re happy. It’s called “popcorning.”
- Chinchillas should not get wet because it takes them a verrrrrrry long time to dry. They have 20,000 hairs per centimeter.
- Dwarf Rabbits are very smart. They can be litterbox trained and taught simple commands. Curious question: what would you teach your dwarf rabbit to do if you had one?
- The Elongated Tortoise looks like it’s been stretched. It can live for about 20 years but is endangered in the wild because it’s highly prized as meat and used to make a medicinal compound in Asia.
- The Sunbeam Snake is nocturnal and burrows in mud and decaying rice paddies so it is rarely seen. Its iridescence is lovely to behold.
- Rat Snakes can live up to 20 years. Curious question: How old will you be in 20 years? What will you be doing?
- The skin of the Fire-bellied Toad is toxic to some animals, including humans.
- Corn snakes are a type of rat snake that kills by constriction. They are both beautiful and functional as they help control rodent populations that spread disease. Our corn snake is an albino with white skin and red eyes. Curious question: is it harder to blend in on hay if you are yellow or white?
- Boa Constrictors give birth to live babies, not eggs, like most of their snake friends. The babies are independent of their moms within minutes.
- Two-toed Hoffman Sloths thrive in captivity while the three-toed sloths don’t. Curious question: Can you outrun a sloth? What about out swim them in a race?
There you have it. Twenty fun facts about some of our non-gator friends. Come see them all in person at Alligator Attraction in Madeira Beach.