Swamp Tales

Swamp Tales replicates the forested wetlands where turtles and alligators make their home among stagnant waters.

Swamp Tales recounts the conservation success story of the American alligator. This reptile now thrives throughout the U.S., but in the 1960s, the alligator has almost gone extinct. Thanks to endangered species protections, its numbers have rebounded. Bo is a perfect representative of his species’ struggles and success, since he’s had to fight to survive himself. In 1990, Bo was found in a drainage ditch in nearby Taft, Texas after being reported by concerned residents. At the time he only weighed 130 lbs. Today, at his permanent home, he tips the scales at a healthy 350 pounds. Bo is no longer able to survive in the wild, but he still has plenty of hunting instinct.

Visitors to Swamp Tales not only enjoy an up-close look at Bo and several turtles, but learn about other wetland species that are currently threatened and what they can do to protect them.

Animals in This Exhibit

  • American alligator

    Alligators are apex predators in the swamp, feeding on fish, amphibians, reptiles, and just about anything else they can get their jaws around.

  • Red-eared slider

    This semiaquatic turtle, native to the southern United States, can be easily recognized by the bright red stripes around their ears. The name “slider” from their ability to quickly escape danger by sliding off rock and logs and into the water.

  • Texas diamondback terrapin

    These turtles are native to coastal tidal marshes in the United States. It gets its name from the diamond-shaped patterns on top of its shell.