The new "Bayou Babies" are about one-month old, six inches long and are "smaller than a baby bottle but have big bright eyes and a growing sense of adventure," reads the aquarium website.
The aquarium says the gators will grow about a foot per year during their first years of life until they're as big (or bigger) than white alligators Snowball and Snowflake. Snowball is an eight-foot-long, 175-pound white alligator male and his companion, Snowflake, is a six-foot-long, 95-pound female white alligator; both are on exhibit at Gator Alley.
In Gator Alley, the babies will be out and about in the habitat, which mimics the conditions of a Florida or Louisiana cypress swamp. They are currently acclimating to the exhibit in what the aquarium is calling a "baby pool" on the bayou beach and dock area. After they are adjusted to their home, they'll be introduced to the larger exhibit, where they will swim under a clear floor and beneath guests' feet.
“Seeing a group of baby gators in the wild is exciting but can be rare. They have a lot of natural predators, so they are excellently camouflaged,” says Newport Aquarium General Curator Kelly Sowers in a release. “It’s so special that guests get to see the babies up close and watch them grow up at Newport Aquarium.”
The aquarium's Animal Care Team is monitoring the health of the hatchlings. "What’s especially cute is to see the baby gators perched up on the rocks in the baby pool when they’re being fed by a member of the Animal Care Team,” says Sowers.
American alligators were brought back from the brink of extinction in the 1980s, says the aquarium, and the species — which is currently endangered — "can teach us a huge lesson in how to protect other species that are in danger of going extinct,” says Sowers.
If you want to see the new Bayou Babies, Newport Aquarium is offering a buy-one, get-one-free ticket special through Nov. 3 where if you purchase one admission ticket, you get a second admission ticket of equal or lesser value for free.
The Newport Aquarium is located at 1 Aquarium Way, Newport.