The swamps of the Francis Beidler Forest

 (Kathryn Wagner) (Kathryn Wagner)

“The Francis Beidler Forest is an Audubon wildlife sanctuary in Four Holes Swamp,blackwater creek system in South Carolina. It consists of over 16,000 acres (65 km²) of mainly bald cypress/tupelo gum swamp with approximately 1,800 acres (7 km2) of old-growth forest. It has an environmental education center and a 1.75-mile (2.82 km) boardwalk trail through the old-growth portion of the swamp. A free iPhone/iPod Touch app can be downloaded to provide information and images not available in the printed guidebook as well as species lists for plants and animals likely to be seen from the boardwalk. It is a favorite haunt of birdwatchers and is used for biological research projects by area schools. The Audubon Society which maintains the preserve has recently obtained funding with which to purchase additional adjacent land to expand the preserve. It is home to the largest virgin stand of cypress and tupelo forest, with some trees over 1,000 years old.” – Wikipedia

Meet Alabaster, the Albino Alligator

 (Kathryn Wagner)

Alabaster” a seven and-a-half foot long 92 pound Albino American Alligator swims in his tank at the Blackwater Swamp Exhibit in the South Carolina Aquarium.

Did you know that alligators are a native predator species in the South Carolina Lowcountry? And that you can adopt Alabaster the Albino American Alligator?

A few more Fun Facts:  There are only two species of alligator in the world – the American alligator and the Chinese alligator American alligators have a lifespan of 35-50 years, and have been known to live up to 80 years in captivity Alligators can stay underwater for 45-60 minutes Alligators will go dormant (not a true hibernation) when the weather gets cold 80 – 100 teeth may be in the mouth of the alligator.  When teeth wear down, new teeth grow in.  An alligator may go through 2,000 – 3,000 teeth in a lifetime