Monday, January 13, 2014
Native Village - Hollywood
The Native Village in Hollywood has a lot of hungry mouths to feed. I did not quite get a total on what these guys eat a week but there are hundreds of them in the Native Village. They range from carry around sized to the 10-12 foot, several hundred pound monster sized. They also have a variety of other rescued animals they care for on the property.
If you think this place is on the bare edge of the Everglades, well it was when I was a kid but civilization has pushed ever westward right into the heart of the wetlands these guys used to call home. The Native Village is located just down the street from the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. While not nearly as popular or famous, this is where the Gator Boys got their start. I was told they make an occasional appearance but not on the day I visited.
I did get to meet Will Nace who has been working with gators a while and has the scars to prove it. No matter how often you perform with gators, the only thing that is guaranteed is that they are unpredictable. Not only was this one hissing and snapping its jaws shut, at one point it swung its tail around so fast I could hardly believe it. For most of the day, the whole group of them did little more than open and close their eyes. Will explained they sweep food into their huge jaws that way. There were a few other useful tips mentioned about how not to be eaten by an alligator that I hope I never need to put into practice.
For more photos from my visit [Click Here].
The Native Village is a small venue but they do host parties and events to raise money. Most of the workers are volunteers I'm told. If you would like to contribute to help feed and care for these rescued creatures, you can contact Ian Tyson at the Native Village link above. Better yet, pay a visit.
And yes - they let me hold a baby gator. I was told that even one this tiny could remove my finger quite easily so don't try this at home.