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Mississippi River

Nicknamed Ol’ Man River, the Mississippi got its name from the Native American Ojibwe words meaning ‘Great River’ and rightly so. The largest river system in North America, the Mississippi flows through 10 states and is the world’s fourth longest river. Since the 1500s, the mighty Mississippi has been home to more than 400 wildlife species, human communities and hosts a few hundred thousand migrating birds every year.

See this great waterway come alive at River Safari. Watch out for the pre-historic looking river monster, the alligator gar as well as the peculiar Mississippi paddlefish with its distinctive snout.

 

Alligator Snapping Turtle

This primitive scavenger and hunter has the second strongest jaw and bite in the entire animal kingdom...

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Alligator Snapping Turtle

This primitive scavenger and hunter has the second strongest jaw and bite in the entire animal kingdom. It’s a great actor too. Lying motionless in the water during its hunt for fishes, it baits its prey by wriggling its thin tongue to mimic a worm. When a prey comes into position, it snaps its jaws with incredible speed and force, killing its prey instantly. This living fossil is the largest freshwater turtle in North America and can weigh a hefty 80 kilograms.

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Mississippi Paddlefish

Look out for this magnificent fish, which lives in the slow flowing waters of the river drainage system...

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Mississippi Paddlefish

Look out for this magnificent fish, which lives in the slow flowing waters of the river drainage system. It earned its name from its distinctive snout that is elongated and flattened like a paddle. Known also as a spoonbill, its impressive snout makes up almost one-third of its entire body length. Toothless, the Mississippi paddlefish eats by sieving plankton while swimming with its mouth wide open. Yet despite its plankton-only diet, this fish can grow up to an impressive size. Sadly, the population of this unique fish is in decline largely due to overfishing and habitat destruction.

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