Learn About Our Wild Animals

Learn about our wild family! Discover more about the creatures you will meet at Golf N Gator. Find out about our beloved animals’ natural habits and habitats. We have birds, snakes, tortoises, spiders, and, of course, alligators! These unique animals from around the world have extraordinary lifestyles that you can witness at our mini golf course. Come visit them today!

Florida Alligator

The Florida alligator, also known as the American alligator, is a fascinating creature that plays a crucial role in the Floridian ecosystem. Predominantly found in freshwater environments such as swamps, marshes, and rivers, these reptiles have dark, armored bodies and powerful, tooth-filled jaws. Despite their formidable appearance, Florida alligators typically naturally fear humans and will often retreat when encountered in the wild. They contribute significantly to biodiversity by controlling the population of certain prey species, thereby maintaining the balance in the ecosystem.

The American alligator is a keystone species in the Florida wetlands, meaning its presence disproportionately affects the ecosystem compared to other species. They are top predators and create habitats for other animals when they burrow in the ground. They play an essential role in nutrient cycling by consuming dead animals and providing fertilization through their droppings. Moreover, their presence can regulate the water level and clarity of wetland areas by creating depressions that can hold water during dry periods. See some of our 30+ alligators in the ponds along our mini golf course!

African Grey Parrot

The African grey parrot, noted for its exceptional cognitive abilities and vibrant plumage, is an intriguing bird native to the rainforests of West and Central Africa. Exhibiting a mix of grey, white, and scarlet coloration, these parrots are renowned for their extraordinary capacity for mimicry, often accurately reproducing human speech and various sounds from their environment. Apart from their vocal abilities, they are highly intelligent, with studies suggesting cognitive capabilities comparable to those of a young child. African grey parrots are social creatures, often observed in large flocks in the wild, and they form strong bonds with their human caregivers in captivity. Our African grey parrot, Delilah, is very friendly and enjoys nibbling on treats and corn on the cob!

African Spurred Tortoise

The African spurred tortoise is a captivating species native to the southern edge of the Sahara Desert in northern Africa. Regarded as the third-largest species of tortoise in the world and the largest of mainland turtles, they can reach a weight of up to 200 pounds and a length of 30 inches. Displaying a broad, oval carapace that is predominantly yellowish-brown in color and thick, elephant-like hind legs, the African spurred tortoise exhibits a unique, rugged charm. 

They are primarily herbivorous, feeding on grasses, flowers, and cacti, providing them with vital hydration in their arid habitats. An interesting feature of these tortoises is their ability to dig extensive burrows, which provide shelter from extreme temperatures, a necessary adaptation in their harsh desert environment.

Our tortoise, Franklin, is relatively young – only 25 years old! The African spurred tortoise can live over 100 years in captivity. Franklin enjoys munching on sweet potatoes and playing in the hay. 

Ball Python

The ball python is a fascinating snake species native to the grasslands and open forests of Western and Central Africa. They exhibit a diverse range of colors and patterns, owing to various genetic mutations, resulting in an array of morphs that captivate reptile enthusiasts worldwide.

Ball pythons are named for their unique defensive behavior of curling into a tight ball when threatened, with their head safely tucked in the middle. In terms of size, they are relatively small for pythons, generally reaching lengths of 3 to 5 feet. They have a carnivorous diet, feeding primarily on small mammals and birds. Ball pythons are also nonvenomous, meaning their bite does not inject venom into their prey. 

While ball pythons are generally hardy creatures, they require specific care in captivity, including regulated temperature and humidity, suitable habitat size, and appropriate diet. 

Boa Constrictor

The boa constrictor is a large, heavy-bodied snake native to various habitats across Central and South America. These marvelous reptiles exhibit a variety of colors and patterns, typically showcasing a combination of browns, blacks, and whites, which help them blend into their surroundings. Adults can reach lengths up to 13 feet, although most average between 6 to 9 feet.

Boa constrictors are well known for their hunting strategy. They are ambush predators that use their strong, muscular bodies to constrict and suffocate their prey, including birds, small mammals, and occasionally, other reptiles. Despite their intimidating hunting technique, these creatures are generally docile and avoid human interaction.

In captivity, they have a reputation for being one of the more docile large snake species, making them popular among reptile enthusiasts. However, they require specific care and attention, including ample space, controlled temperature and humidity, and an appropriate diet.

Green Iguana

The green iguana is an impressive reptile native to the rainforests of South and Central America and the Caribbean. Notable for its vibrant green scales and long spiny back tail, these lizards have become a common sight in many parts of Florida and other subtropical regions of the United States due to pet release or escape. Adult iguanas can reach up to 6 feet in length, with over half of that being their tail. 

Green iguanas are primarily herbivorous, and their diet consists mainly of leaves, flowers, and fruit, though young iguanas may consume insects or other small animals. An impressive characteristic of iguanas is their ability to detach their tail if caught and regrow it, a handy adaptation serving as a defense mechanism against predators. 

In some regions, green iguanas are an important source of protein, often referred to as the ‘chicken of the tree.’ However, in areas where they are non-native, like Florida, they are considered a problematic invasive species that can cause significant damage to infrastructure and native ecosystems. 

Tarantula

The tarantula, a term often used to refer to a group of hairy and often very large spiders, belongs to the family Theraphosidae. Distributed globally in tropical, subtropical, and arid regions, these spiders are known for their robust bodies, dense hair coverage, and distinctive hunting style. 

Rather than spinning a web to trap their prey, tarantulas are ambush predators. They remain well-hidden and patiently wait for their prey to come within striking distance. Once the target is within reach, the tarantula swiftly pounces on the unsuspecting creature, injecting a disabling venom through their fangs. It’s a hunting strategy that requires patience, precision, and a powerful venom. They have a carnivorous diet mainly consisting of insects, but larger species occasionally consume small rodents, lizards, or birds. 

Tarantulas also have a unique defense mechanism; they can flick urticating hairs from their abdomen towards potential threats, which can cause irritation and deter predators.

Tarantulas exhibit a wide range of sizes, with leg spans anywhere from less than an inch to nearly a foot in certain species.

In captivity, tarantulas are a popular choice among exotic pet enthusiasts due to their unique appearance and generally docile disposition. However, they require specific care, including appropriate temperature and humidity levels and a suitable diet. 

Only At Golf N Gator

Are you ready to meet our wild family? From our scaly alligators, smooth snakes, and fuzzy tarantulas, a wild friend is waiting to see you! Join one of our educational shows or hands-on experiences to learn more and even hold some of our animals. Spend a weekend at Golf N Gator for family fun.