Hello, Alligators & Crocodiles.
I didn’t know that his obsession would transfer to all things Crocodilian in all their predatory, scaly, swampy, toothy glory.
That is CHUBIDO.
Our son named his new pet alligator.
You pronounce it “CHUB” “EE” “DOH”.
We’ve been doing a lot of Large Reptile learning around here lately, mostly because I don’t have any answers to our son’s constant questions.
Until Chubido joined our family after ordering him for a great price from The Jungle Store, our son could be found in random areas of the house doing this:
Yes. He has seen audited episodes of Swamp People. The Fast Forward Button comes in very handy.
He started out in that orange sled on a hunt for alligators we bought at the Dollar Tree for $1 each.
But, he has since changed his dramatic play scenarios.
He is an Alligator RESCUER now.
I often walk into the play area to find that every one of our blue sheets, even those impossible-to-fold fitted sheets, are spread across the floor to form realistic blue “lakes”.
He throws every imaginable reptilian thing on top of that blue linen pond:
Turtle-shaped legos that snap together, a bubble wand shaped like an alligator, a poorly designed stegasaurus puppet, his turtle pillow pet, and those Dollar Tree Floaty Alligators.
Then, he spends hours navigating that imaginary swamp….rescuing his alligators, and feeding them, piling them on his sled-boat, and then tossing them back into the water to start all over again.
The only time I had to draw the line on this imaginary play was when he started lining that sled up to launch downstairs after an inflatable alligator had been set up by the grandfather clock.
I mean, that boat could have really messed up that grandfather clock. :)
Oh! And we cook alligators around here, too!
I KNOW that alligator cake looks like a deranged salamander.
Have I ever passed this off as a Food Blog?
If you want to see how we did it, check out this post which links to the Princess And A Frog Cookbook with the cool recipe.
A couple of years ago, our alligator cake attempt came out a lot better! :)
We visited the Laredo Community College Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Science Center’s Alligators, of course!
They have several. And, we’ll be heading down to Alabama this Summer to visit Alligator Alley, where 450 Alligators live on a cool farm there! Wahoo!
It’s totally on our Summer Travel Route!
Our son’s favorite crocodilian is actually the lesser known Gavial.
It’s a large reptile, the only one of its kind, that lives in India and has a very long snout and tiny teeth.
Our son believes a Gavial would be the perfect pet because their snouts are too long and skinny to attack humans.
And our son begged for a GAVIAL MASK.
Those aren’t everywhere. So, we made one.
All it took was a:
- paper towel roll,
- some scissors,
- some glue,
- a green marker
- and some twine.
He cut the roll down the center and cut out the jagged teeth.
Then, he glued the two ends together where they would sit on our son’s nose so that the jaws stayed open.
We let our son color the mask green.
Then, my husband ran twine through holes on each side and tied them off around our son’s head.
That was it!
Did our son wear that mask everywhere for two days?
Um…did our son wear a cape for 2 years straight?
Our favorite and most educational activity has been
The Crocodilian Species Geography Activity.
To learn about the different types of crocodilians and where they live, we put a map up on a magnetic dry-erase board.
We all sat around the computer and clicked through the information found on this Crocodilian Species List.
Each species is linked so the kids can see information and images of each individual species!
There really are many surprising variations!
To get the activity ready, I found images of:
- Crocodiles (showing upper and lower teeth),
- Caimans (I used an image of a Dwarf Caiman with large eyes to help the kids distinguish better),
- Alligators (with teeth showing pointing downward),
- And the Gavial (with its long, skinny snout).
Each image was cut out and glued to a round magnet.
Using the link showing all Crocodilian Species above, we cut out 14 Crocodiles, 6 Caimans, 2 Alligators and 1 Gavial.
Then, we reviewed where all of the continents were and started placing the magnets where they belonged using the Species listing as a guide.
Some of the most interesting facts we all learned in this activity?
- Caimans are actually a type of Alligator.
- There is only one Gavial (also pronounced Gharial) and it lives in India.
- Gavials only eat fish, but False Gharials are actually crocodiles who eat much more than that!
- There are more species of Crocodile than there are Alligator or Gavial.
- The State of Florida has Alligators AND Crocodiles!
- The only other place you find an Alligator other than North America (not including Caimans) is China!
- Central and South America have all the Caimans.
- Our son’s favorite crocodilians, the Gavial and the False Gharial live in India and Indonesia, respectively.
Once we were done putting all of the magnets on the board, we used the remaining crocodile images to practice coloring and cutting skills.
One of the best aspects of being a parent is that we are personally invited into a child’s world every day on their quest to discover and learn.
It’s a world where every body of water, whether it’s a puddle following the rain or a ravine under a bridge, might be home to an alligator.
AND….As our son begins his journey toward crocodilian-knowledge domination, my husband and I have become used to fielding questions like these:
“Will an alligator eat you?”
Answer: You Bet.
“Do Crocodiles have skulls?”
“Can I be an Alligator Hunter When I Grow Up?”
Answer: Hell To The No.
“Can We Have A Gavial For A Pet Because They Won’t Eat You?”
Answer: Eh? If we ever move to India, we’ll think about it.
I’m sorry to see you go with all your capes and masks and batarangs.
It was fun with the utility belts, and the Batmobiles….but not the Nun-Chucks. The nun-chucks can totally go.
(Side Note, Folks: If you hate someone, give that person’s kid a set of Batman Nun-Chucks. I can’t think of a sweeter revenge.)
Anyway, Batman. I’m sorry, but it appears you have been replaced.
You just can’t compete with ‘Ol Chubido.
SO….WHAT PHASE IS YOUR CHILD IN OR PASSING THROUGH?