Posted on: May 11, 2023, 10:22h.
Last updated on: May 11, 2023, 01:18h.
Lake Charles casinos love to welcome whales, an informal term for VIPs and high rollers. But one of the Louisiana town’s three casinos recently welcomed a different kind of creature that typically resides in marshland.
Guests and resort officials at L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles recently spotted an alligator frolicking in the resort’s lazy river. The casino notified guests of the incident but tried to calm concerns by explaining that such events are rare.
A dip in the pool, a trip to the spa, this little guy couldn’t stay away from our lazy river!” the casino’s social media team posted on its channels. “Don’t worry, though, this doesn’t happen regularly.”
Casino officials said the alligator was safely and humanely transported to a natural environment and set free.
The L’Auberge stands next to the Golden Nugget on the Calcasieu River. The waterway flows south to Lake Calcasieu before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.
A dip in the pool, a trip to the spa, this little guy couldn't stay away from our lazy river! Don't worry though, this doesn't happen regularly 📷 He was taken to a safe new place to swim! pic.twitter.com/llzSLot4pK
— L'Auberge Lake Charles (@LAubergeLC) May 10, 2023
Alligators are commonly found throughout the southeastern United States, with the large reptiles widespread in the coastal parts of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Florida and Louisiana are said to have the greatest gator populations, as those states have large swamps, rivers, and bayous.
Though an alligator swimming in the L’Auberge lazy river will certainly cause many guests to look twice before jumping in, state officials say alligator attacks are rare. There were just four fatal alligator attacks last year in the entire US, and none occurred in Louisiana.
The Bayou State, however, did report a fatal gator attack in 2021. The event occurred in Slidell, just north of New Orleans, following Hurricane Ida, which ushered alligators inland. The victim was a 71-year-old man whose wife witnessed the horrific attack that killed him and ripped off one of his arms.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries estimates that more than one million alligators in the state live in more than 4.5 million acres of suitable alligator habit.
Alligators can live upwards of 70 years, and typically survive by eating muskrats, nutria, beavers, raccoons, birds, fish, snakes, turtles, and deer. But the Wildlife & Fisheries Department warns that a gator will eat just about anything “that doesn’t eat it first.”
Of course, the alligator found in the L’Auberge lazy river couldn’t do much harm to adults. The small gator wasn’t much larger than the kind of reptile that an alligator tour would allow children to hold.
L’Auberge is operated by Penn Entertainment and owned by the casino operator’s real estate investment trust, Gaming and Leisure Properties. The riverboat casino features 1,400 slot machines, 75 live dealer table games, and a Barstool Sportsbook.
During the final six months of 2022, the casino reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $173.4 million. That narrowly edged Golden Nugget Lake Charles at $170 million for the top spot in the local market.