Marvel at Powerful Reptile Predators
Alligators & Crocodiles: The Fight to Survive Will Open Memorial Day Weekend 2021

Marvel at Powerful Reptile Predators in our New Exhibit

Published Oct. 28, 2020

Revered for their unmatched strength, feared for their ferocity and respected for their tenacity, alligators and crocodiles are among the most impressive predators on the planet!

Beginning Memorial Day weekend 2021, guests can see these remarkable oversized reptiles up close when the Indianapolis Zoo opens its new exhibit, Alligators & Crocodiles: The Fight to Survive.

Construction will be under way soon for the new exhibit, to be located on the west side of the Zoo near the entrance to Plains. There, visitors can meet two species, the American alligator and the Orinoco crocodile, that are on vastly different ends of the conservation spectrum.

The American alligator is one of our country’s greatest conservation success stories. Considered an endangered species only a few decades ago, it was fully recovered by 1987 thanks to protections from the Endangered Species Act as well as conservation efforts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies. The population now numbers in the millions throughout their native range in swamps, marshes, bayous, lakes and rivers throughout the southeastern U.S.

These mysterious and menacing reptiles are the ultimate survivors and serve as ambassadors to their cousins under threat. Their inspiring story give us hope that we can make a difference in the survival of other species, like their close relative, the Orinoco crocodile.

Due to excessive hunting and habitat loss, Orinoco crocodiles are one of the world’s most critically endangered reptiles with an estimated population of less than 260,000 mature adults. Native to the Orinoco River Basin in Colombia and Venezuela, they are the third largest species of crocodilian, and the largest species in the Americas.

Not only are these some of the largest living reptiles, they’re also among the oldest. Crocodilians originated more than 200 million years ago. And with their scaly, armored bodies, razor-sharp teeth and massive tails, they closely resemble the dinosaur relatives they outlived.

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