Move over, therapy dogs, cats, and horses – therapy alligators have arrived. The reptiles are the hot new thing at the baggage claim area at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), where travelers can take selfies with them and pet them every Friday afternoon, courtesy of the Audubon Nature Institute.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has introduced a new perk for travel-weary passengers heading to baggage claim after their flights: therapy alligators. The Audubon Nature Institute has begun bringing the critters into the airport every Friday afternoon, encouraging travelers to both take selfies with the gators and gently pet them.
“These baby alligators are probably between a year and 3 years old and can be anywhere from 1 to 3 feet long,” airport spokeswoman Erin Burns told USA Today. “The Audubon Nature Institute will bring one or two baby gators each week. These animals are used to being handled and they get regular breaks.”
In addition to the alligators, there will be information on the reptiles and a display table of artifacts from other animals from the wetlands area in Louisiana.
Pets are a relatively new phenomenon at the New Orleans airport; a team of therapy dogs were introduced only in June 2018. The gator program is designed to complement and amplify that effort. It is expected to continue indefinitely, moving into the long-awaited new terminal when it opens in May next year.
The gators are available to travelers from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Friday afternoons.