Gatorland says deadly animals won't escape in Irma chaos

- Those in Florida need not worry about Gatorland’s deadly animals breaking free in the chaos of Hurricane Irma, officials said Friday.

Mark McHugh, president and CEO of Gatorland, posted a video on Facebook to calm any fears about animals getting free.

“We’ve been fighting hurricanes and big, nasty storms since 1949 here at Gatorland – it ain’t our first rodeo,” he said.

McHugh says the business has detailed procedures on how to take care of each animal in the event of an emergency.  He says goats, deer and other mammals are locked up safe inside their exhibits. Venomous snakes and boa constrictors are put into bags and put them in locked-up areas.

As for the alligators, they’re staying put.

“These critters have been fighting hurricanes and big, old nasty storms for about 65 million years. They’re pretty good at it,” McHugh said.

He says they leave alligators in their ponds and leaks on their own.

Each Gatorland exhibit has an 8-foot fence surrounding and there’s another 8-foot fence surrounds the park as a whole so if one fence is destroyed in the storm, there’s a backup. A small team of animal experts will be on watch 24/7.

“None of our animals are going anywhere here in Gatorland, so if you see an alligator floating down your street there at your house, it ain’t ours,” McHugh said.

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