ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene Zoo’s oldest resident, Albert the Alligator, now has a new winter home where visitors can continue to admire him.

The Abilene Zoo announced the completion of a warm-holding building for the 50+ year-old alligator. Construction began in August and finished just in time for the temperature drop in late October.

“Once the temperature drops below a certain point, the alligator will recognize that he needs to be in a warmer environment,” stated Supervisor Tony Baez. “Albert was ready to go inside.”

Courtesy of the Abilene Zoo

As cold-blooded animals, reptiles require specific temperatures to regulate their body temperature internally. During the winter months, reptiles undergo a process called brumation, where their metabolic rate slows down, making the animal lethargic but not in a deep sleep. Although they remain hydrated by drinking water, they usually do not eat during this period. The brumation period typically lasts for around 4-5 months, typically starting from November and ending in late February.

“If Albert isn’t outside, we get asked multiple times a day where he is. Now guests will be able to see him year-round,” stated Jesse Pottebaum, Zoo Director. “We are so grateful for the incredible community support we have that makes projects like this possible. It allows us to provide the highest level of care for our animals year round.” 

The zoo shared that the warm-holding building was funded through Abilene Gives Day donors and the Community Foundation of Abilene.