Monday, July 30, 2012

Blindfolded alligator wrestling, anyone?

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 3:28 PM

It's been a long time since I wrote about the Colorado Gators Reptile Park, my favorite Colorado roadside attraction, and home to Mr. Bo Mangles.

I return to it today with word of its 17th annual Gatorfest, happening this weekend. The big draw of the fest is none other than the Alligator Rodeo, in which wily varmints wrestle gators as big as 11 feet in length. According to Colorado Gators, this is how they capture their animals to check them for wounds and give them medication. However, anyone who has taken alligator-wrestling classes can compete.

As if that weren't a liability nightmare in itself, there's the above-mentioned blindfolded wrasslin', explained this way in the press release:

This year's rodeo will be as exciting as ever with a new event, blindfolded alligator wrestling! Wranglers will enter a pond with over 50 alligators blindfolded and attempt to find and catch an 8 to 10 foot alligator by feel.

Let's all take a minute to picture that one.

To be fair, Colorado Gators' webpage on its wrestling classes stipulates that it's not actually "wrestling" they offer to instruct, but "how to handle these creatures safely and responsibly." Though the pictures of people sitting on the alligators and holding them backwards by their top jaws looks barbaric, I'm no expert.

And just in case you, like me, think this blindfolding business is a bit too far-fetched to be true, I give you Eggfest, which involves watching employees snatching alligator eggs from their mothers' nests.

Around the first of July, the female alligators build a nest and lay their eggs in the night. Then she covers them up. We can either go out the next day and fight off the female to gather the eggs and put them in an incubator (it’s too cold for them to survive outside). Or, we can collect the eggs in the middle of the night as the female is laying them. She's in a trance while she's laying eggs, so she doesn’t even know we are there.

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