Mote Marine Laboratory’s newest exhibit “The Teeth Beneath,” features alligators, a baby crocodile and caimans. Although these reptiles are often feared, Mote works to educate the public on them. Visitors are encouraged to be careful, but stay curious.
“The Teeth Beneath” is now open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week at Mote’s Ann and Alfred E. Goldstein Marine Mammal Research and Rehabilitation Center. Tickets are $19.75 for adults, $18.75 for seniors, $14.75 for children 4-12, children under 3 visit free and Mote Marine members are free as well.
“We would like our visitors to have a better understanding of the importance of our watershed environments,” Assistant Vice President for the Aquarium Evan Barniskis said. “These are our local areas where all the water drains into rivers, lakes and streams and how important it is to conserve those areas.”
In exploring what animals live in these areas, and what those creatures contribute to the ecosystem, it allows visitors to appreciate and work to protect these watersheds.
“When they come here and learn about the alligators and caimans, hopefully they gain an appreciation for those animals and the areas they live in,” Barniskis said.
The reptiles were acquired in couple different ways.
“The caiman are an invasive species,” Senior Aquarium Biologist- Cephalopods Brian Siegel said. “They are from South America.”
The caimans were found and removed from the Florida Everglades as hatchlings. Siegel explained that for the most part they stay south, since they are used to warmer climates.
The alligator came from another Association of Zoos (AZA) accredited facility in Florida.
“We added the crocodile to the “Oh Baby” exhibit, as a small hatchling, to educated the public about how these animals reproduce,” Barniskis said.
“The Teeth Beneath” Exhibit is now wide open. Come experience, learn and explore