I stepped a bit out of my comfort zone this morning as we made a trek (and it was a trek) to an alligator farm in Hammond. We should have done this when we were closer to Hammond instead of driving over two hours today but it was well worth the ride. We went to Klieberts Swamp, home of the original “Swamp People” and a gator farm. It was established in 1957 at which time the owner bought about 300 gator eggs and hatched them and as they say, the rest is history. They have gators ranging from 9 to 18 feet but we only saw two large ones as this is not the time of year when they are active – thank goodness! The area is filled with turtles also, several different kinds. We were able to see many of them although when we walked by them some would slide into the water.
When we reached the pond that held the oldest gators the guide went in and we stayed behind the fence. I saw a big log only to realize that it was a really big gator. He tried to get the gator to come up to the edge but he wouldn’t. It was amazing to see the “logs” there and I was glad I was behind the fence although they aren’t very active. We saw one scoot back into the pond and although they are supposedly very slow at this time of year I thought he moved pretty fast!
The last place we stopped had several gators in there, probably 20 or 30 that were from four to eight years old. The tour guide went in to bring one out. It was interesting to watch him go into the pen. Although the gators are very lethargic at his time of year I noticed that he never turned his back on any of them. As he entered I told him to be careful and he thanked me! Most of the gators were out of the water lying on the bank but as soon as he started walking toward them many of them went into the water.
The guide brought one out dragging him by his tale. As soon as he could he taped his jaws shut. He used quite a bit of tape but said he actually only needed to wrap it once. The guide then showed us how to get behind the gator, pull his tail and then walk up his back, getting on our knees, pressing his head down and then holding his mouth while extending his neck so we could sit on it. Yeah – a lot of steps to follow. I let Jerry go first! Needless to say I was a bit apprehensive so the guide helped hold him as I sat on him. He told me to be sure to cover up the tape with my hands so the picture would be good but obviously I didn’t! Wow – just Wow!
When we went in there was a group of school children there and as they went out another guide asked me if I wanted to hold a small gator. Well sure – so I did but he was a young one, probably about one and a half. They also had an Albino Burmese Python. I did not hold that but Jerry did. Yuk! I then noticed that the guide helping us only had his thumb on his right hand as his other fingers had been bitten off!
What an interesting visit. In addition to the gators and turtles they have nutria, goats, chickens, raccoons and other animals. They also have a cream colored gator which is extremely rare.
After the visit we rode down to Berryland RV and walked through some diesel pushers. Why, I don’t know. Jerry said his next RV would be a diesel and I asked him when that would be. He replied when I won the lottery. Since I’ve never bought a ticket I guess that won’t happen. Fortunately we love the motor home we have and have no plans to buy another!
On the trip back we stopped at Hebert’s and bought two stuffed chickens, one with alligator and one with boudin sausage. We also stopped by the Villager Café and bought some of their Langlinais’ French Bread. The loaves are about three feet long!
When we got back to the RV I didn’t have any freezer bags long enough to hold them so Jerry ran down to Robie’s to pick some up while I walked over to the Happy Hour to speak to everyone. They were very interested in our trip to the gator farm. We had a sandwich and called an end to a busy day!
Tomorrow will be busy too as we go to hear some authentic Cajun music in the afternoon plus prepare to pull out on Sunday morning. It’s been a great week and I hate to see it end but it’s time to move on down the road.