COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - Mid-August through early September marks brings a population explosion in Louisiana, as baby alligators hatch in the marsh and on alligator ranches.
While Louisiana's alligator farms have been plagued by wild fluctuations in the price of alligator leather, one business found a split personality.
Baby alligators hatched at the Insta-gator ranch near Covington get a helping hand from tourists and locals alike.
Once driven to near extinction, the American alligator population has roared back, in large part because of the state program to farm-raise gators.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has managed the alligator ranching program since 1972.
Since then, more than 6.5 million alligator eggs have been collected, and over 3.5 million farm raised alligators have been sold, according the LDW&F website.
The wild population of alligators is in Louisiana is approaching 3 million.
The state requires ranchers return 12 percent of the alligators to the wild once they reach 4 feet in length.
Biologists estimate only 6-8 percent of gators in the wild reach that length.