With the number of alligators of living in Louisiana (upwards of two million) they should seriously be the state animal. If you want to get an up-close and personal experience with the Bayou State's most prominent resident on four feet, you can visit this Louisiana alligator ranch where you interact with baby alligators before their razor-sharp teeth develop. 

At Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery, baby alligators are raised until they're longer than four feet. This is due to their teeny-tiny size before they hit that length; they're targets in the wild. That's where this and several other ranches around the state step in.

After they reach their goal size at the ranch, a certain number of them are released back into the wild to aid in declining populations. Before they take on the wild, you can be their human mama (or papa) for a day. 

The peak hatching season happened through September, but you still have the chance to help some of the late-bloomers hatch. You warm the egg in your hand and watch the alligator do its thing. If it struggles a little, you can assist them coming out of the shell. Warning: there might be blood. 

This circle of life experience is subject to Mother Nature, and we all know how irregular she can be. If you don't get to see a baby hatch, you can still meet some of the adorable baby gators on a behind-the-scenes tour of the ranch. 

You're guaranteed to hold one too, as you can pick one up from the pool. You'll probably never get another opportunity to look a gator in the eyes like this. 

For any animal-lovers in the state, you can take on this swamp tour and otter reserve after you become a gator parent. 

 

Insta Gator Ranch 

Price: $18 (tour), $40-$50 (hatching)

Address: 74645 Allen Road, Covington, LA 70435

Why You Need To Go: This is the only ranch in the state where you can personally interact with baby alligators. 

Website 

 

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