Destination Louisiane: Hold a baby alligator at Jennings’ Gator Chateau

Destination Louisiane

JENNINGS, La. (KLFY) — Right off I-10 in Jeff Davis Parish is a home to baby alligators. It’s the perfect stop for your family road trip.

At Gator Chateau, they rescue baby alligators and foster them until they are able to be released back into their natural habitat. They’re hand fed, they don’t bite, and the best part is you can hold them.

Dione Sabelhaus, Director of Marketing and Gator Chateau, said, “Not too many people can hold and pet a baby alligator. They are very unique creatures. They are super sweet. You won’t know until you stop and see and come feel what an alligator looks like and feels like.”

Gator Chateau is located in Jennings. It’s a free attraction that brings in close to 3,000 people a month from all over the world.

Sarah Estes, Gator Handler at Gator Chateau, added, “This is Magnolia. Every morning when we get here, we give them a bath. We have to make sure they’re clean so people can hold them. We feed them a soy bean pellet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday because they don’t eat meat yet… that’s why you can actually hold them because they don’t know the smell of blood.”

Magnolia is a one-year-old gator. Once Magnolia turns two, she’ll stop being held.

“Eventually, Magnolia will get released at about six foot, six years old,” said Estes. “They do grow a foot a year. They can live up to about 40-50 years. Females get up to 9 to 10 feet. Males get up to about 10 to 12 feet. We have about nine alligators. The majority are two or three years old. We have two of them that are two years old. They just got put into our pond from our big tank. The biggest is Babette. She’s four years old.”

“If I can take them, if I don’t have too many, we’ll take the baby gators, and we’ll raise them until they’re old enough to be released if they can survive on their own outside of not living with us,” explained Sabelhaus.

The baby gators are even dressed up in costumes.

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