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Mighty Mike, The 800-lb, 14-ft American Alligator, Returns To Adventure Aquarium

CAMDEN, N.J., March 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- He's huge and he's hungry.  Mighty Mike – America's biggest, baddest alligator – is returning to the Camden waterfront on Friday, March 22.

He's the largest American alligator in the country outside of Florida.  At 14 feet and 800 pounds, Mighty Mike is longer than most cars.  He can swallow an entire turkey in a single gulp.

Mighty Mike has just returned to the waters of Adventure Aquarium, on the Camden, N.J., Waterfront, providing families with a unique opportunity to see his massive jaws, rows of teeth, and powerful tail.  Visitors can get very close to this enormous creature, as an enhanced exhibit design provides extraordinary viewing access to Mighty Mike – allowing guests to get eye-to-eye with this remarkable animal.

"You can't completely grasp how large Mighty Mike is until you see him in person," said Kevin Keppel, Executive Director of Adventure Aquarium. "He was so popular and loved when he visited several years ago, that guests kept asking to see him again.  He's making a limited time return engagement to see his fans and meet new ones.  We know our guests will be excited to have the rare opportunity to stand face-to-face with him."

Mealtime with Mighty MikeIn addition to their jaw-dropping size, American alligators also have one of the strongest bites of any living animal – 2,000 pounds per square inch, which is five times stronger than a great white shark's bite.  Mighty Mike will demonstrate this power multiple times per week during his meals, which usually include four to nine pounds of meat — chicken, pork shoulder, rats, turkey, and rabbit.

"Mighty Mike is a very unique reptile, due to his size and age," said Marc Kind, Director of Husbandry at Adventure Aquarium.  "He exhibits the massive muscle of a predator, making every day a unique one for our visitors.  We look forward to educating guests about this incredible animal."

Mighty Mike, the AmbassadorHis large size not only makes him enjoyable to watch, but it also saved his life.  In 2000, residents of Lake Talquin, Fla., grew concerned with a large alligator that was frequenting a public boat dock.  Wildlife authorities declared him a nuisance and ordered him destroyed, as required by state law.  However, the trapper who was hired to catch him realized he was special because of his dimensions so the trapper and his son asked local reptile expert Bruce Shwedick to provide the alligator with a new home.  Bruce adopted him, quickly named him after the trapper's son, Mike, and is now Mighty Mike's keeper.

In fact, today Mighty Mike serves as an ambassador for American Alligators in the wild, as the public continues to be amazed by this massive prehistoric predator.  Adventure Aquarium visitors will learn more about this incredible species, including why American Alligators are known as "living fossils," and how ground-breaking conservation and research efforts ultimately helped save them from the brink of extinction.

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