Will alligators escape during Hurricane Irma?

Vehicles driving along Ocean Drive in South Beach as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida, in Miami Beach, Florida, on Sept 10, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

MIAMI (WP) - The people who run Gatorland in Orlando, Florida, have promised that their thousands of alligators and crocodiles - not to mention their venomous snakes and boa constrictors - will not be making a great escape during Hurricane Irma.

Protecting the people of Orlando from any reptile-related mayhem, Gatorland officials told their Facebook followers, are decades of experience and 2.4m-tall fences.

"We've been fighting hurricanes and big nasty storms since 1949 here at Gatorland," said park president Mark McHugh.

The snakes and other animals are placed in locked cages, boxes or bags which are placed in locked buildings.

The alligators and crocodiles, meanwhile, will stay in their ponds and lakes.

"These critters have been fighting hurricanes and big old nasty storms for about 65 million years and they're quite good at it," he said.

"We just leave all our alligators in our ponds and our lakes. They're on their own. They just take a deep breath and sink in the water and they weather this thing out."

Gatorland is just one of Florida's unique, kitschy or just downright bizarre attractions that try to lure tourists away from the glitzier theme parks.

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