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Alligator slide

Alligator slide

Aug. 21, 1975: An alligator is about to make a splash at the California Alligator Farm in Buena Park.

This photo was published in the Aug. 25, 1975, Los Angeles Times. staff writer Sherry Angel reported:

BUENA PARK — When Ken Earnest does his weekly shopping, he never forgets to buy the 3,000 pounds of chicken on his list.

That’s because he has about 700 alligators with snapping jaws to remind him that they wouldn’t hesitate to settle for a human limb if the chicken ran out.

The alligators belong to the California Alligator Farm – the only one of its kind in the state – which has been owned and run by Earnest’s family since 1908.

What started as a small alligator exhibit from Arkansas has become one of the world’s largest reptile farms with about 1,000 live specimens representing all five basic reptile groups, Earnest said.

Those groups are crocodilians, snakes, lizards, turtles and beakheads, and among them are a number of rare reptiles that have become nearly extinct and are considered endangered species.

The alligators, which belong to the crocodilians group, have the greatest representation at the farm and still seem to be the main attraction….

Originally the Los Angeles Alligator Farm, the family-owned business moved to Buena Park in 1953. The California Alligator Farm closed in 1984.

Aug. 21, 1975: An alligator named Ben at California Alligator Farm in Buena Park. Credit: Maxine Reams/Los Angeles Times.

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