MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Alligators, beautiful coastal birds, miles of natural swamps, and yes, more alligators. That's what you'll find at the Gulf Coast Gator Ranch in Moss Point.
"I think a lot of people don't realize they have something like this in southeast Mississippi."
Allan Adams says his ranch offers a unique experience for guests. As you walk through a winding path overlooking the marsh, you can easily spot its inhabitants. Some slithering through the water, others basking in the warm sunlight.
"And you get to see big guys like this. The big gators - some of the biggest in captivity," boasts the owner. "You know, you're looking at a 12, 13 foot alligator as you're standing here. Where can you see that at? Not just anyplace."
Adams has been around gators his entire life, so he's not timid about approaching the massive beasts. However, he knows, as with any wild animal, you have to respect its power.
"Now the thing about alligators, from side to side, they can turn very quickly. So you got to be very careful with alligators," warned Adams.
You learn a lot by talking with Adams, or any of his tour guides. They try to make the experience educational and fun for all ages.
For instance, I got to hold a baby alligator and the first thing I wanted to know, is if it would bite.
Adams told me, "Alligators generally don't bite, it's just a protective means. They're not like that. Alligators generally won't attack anything that they can't swallow whole, because alligators don't actually chew their food. They actually swallow it whole."
How about guessing a gator's size?
"Now the way you tell the length of an alligator, is you look at its head. From the tip of his nose, to the beginning of his eye sockets, whatever you guess that in inches, you convert inches into feet."
You're tour is far from over, because another adventure awaits on the other side of the ranch. An airboat ride through towering cypress trees offers an opportunity for up-close encounters. And it doesn't take long to spot some alligators in the wild.
"You never know what you're going to see out in the wild," explained Adams. "It varies from tour to tour, from day to day, week to week. It's always different. And that kind of makes it exciting."
To learn more about what the Gator Ranch and Airboat Tours of Moss Point has to offer, click here, or call (866) 964-2867 or (228) 475-6026.