Special to the PRESS
The South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary (SPIBNCAS) will be celebrating Big Padre, the American Alligator’s 56th Birthday on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and everyone is invited.
Big Padre is an American Alligator that is an astonishing 12-feet and six-inches long and weighs approximately 800-pounds. He has been keeping residency at SPIBNCAS since May of 2019. According to SPIBNCAS, he has adapted well to his forever home on South Padre Island, Texas.
Big Padre was rescued in Port Arthur, Texas, where he was being fed fish scraps by the fishing community for many years. His feeding habits became reliant on the scraps from the fishermen’s cleaning stations; because of this, he is now considered a nuisance alligator, according to SPIBNCAS.
“Once a human or humans feed an alligator, it immediately loses all fear of us and associates all humans with providing food. Due to these behavioral changes, Big Padre can no longer be relocated back into the wild and this is why he now lives at SPIBNCAS in captivity. Big Padre will never be released back into the wild to roam around free as he was meant to be,” stated the center.
SPIBNCAS’s resident herpetologist, Jacob Reinbolt (aka Gator Jake), graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. According to SPIBNCAS, Reinbolt has a lifelong love for animals of all types and has developed a special bond with Big Padre.
“Most people might consider working with reptiles as grotesque or scary, but it has manifested itself into a career for Jake. Jake loves educating the public about the importance of leaving the magnificent creature, the American Alligator alone. When Big Padre Is being fed by Jake, Big Padre tends to make an impressive leap out of the pond he lives in and be more boisterous during feeding time,” stated SPIBNCAS.
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