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Abilene Zoo opens new heated holding for beloved alligator

Abilene Zoo is excited to share the completion of the warm-holding building for Albert, the beloved 50+ year-old alligator. As the oldest resident at Abilene Zoo, seeing Albert is often an integral part of a visitor’s Zoo experience. 

The construction for Albert’s new warm-holding began in August and concluded in mid-October, just before the temperature dramatically dropped at the end of October. “Once the temperature drops below a certain point, the alligator will recognize that he needs to be in a warmer environment,” stated Supervisor Tony Baez. “Albert was ready to go inside.”

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Reptiles are cold-blooded animals and need the correct temperatures in their environment to regulate their internal body temperature. Reptiles go through brumation during winter months, which is similar to a mammal’s hibernation. During brumation, reptiles will have a slowed metabolic rate and become lethargic, but unlike animals in hibernation, they don’t go into a deep sleep. During brumation, reptiles do not eat. However, they will continue to drink to avoid dehydration. This period typically lasts for about 4-5 months, approximately November to late February. 

“If Albert isn’t outside, we get asked multiple times a day where he is. Now guests will be able to see him year-round,” stated Jesse Pottebaum, Zoo Director. “We are so grateful for the incredible community support we have that makes projects like this possible. It allows us to provide the highest level of care for our animals year round.” The new warm-holding building was funded through generous Abilene Gives Day donors and the Community Foundation of Abilene. 

Guests can view Albert in his new warm-holding building in the Wetlands of the Americas exhibit. For tickets and memberships visit abilenezoo.org.

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