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Two Dozen Gators Join 'Bayou Babies' At Newport Aquarium

Courtesy of Newport Aquarium
Two dozen baby alligators are now in residence in Northern Kentucky.

Two dozen baby alligators are now calling the Newport Aquarium home.

The month-old hatchlings are about six inches long and exploring their new habitat in Gator Alley. The aquarium says the babies will be slowly introduced to the larger exhibit but are in a baby pool for now.

They'll be here until they reach about two feet long, then return to Florida, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Tan. The reptiles are in Northern Kentucky as part of a partnership with a Florida-based alligator conservation effort, Tan says.

The aquarium's care team is monitoring the animals' weights, measurements and food intake. Alligators grow about a foot per year during their first few years of life and can get up to about eight to 11 feet in length.

"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 American alligator teetered on the brink of extinction in the 1980s. It's now considered a rare success story as the once endangered animal is now thriving.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.