Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary near Battle Creek offers reptiles a new home

ATHENS TWP. — At Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary, each individual single animal has a story.

Choose Tom, for occasion. The 9-foot alligator employed to live in a frat home in Cincinnati, Ohio, the place he frequently lounged on the couch and ate pizza. Or Penelope, a tortoise whose prior owners fed her dog foodstuff.

There is certainly Crockett, an alligator who was discovered lying in a bathtub comprehensive of cocaine all through a drug bust. And Archie, the young alligator who was listed for sale on Craigslist in St. Louis, Missouri.

These are just a few of the hundreds of reptiles acquiring a new lease on lifestyle thanks to the Critchlow spouse and children, who opened the 4 1/2 acre sanctuary far more than a decade in the past at 1698 M-66 north of Athens.

“It’s not some thing you be expecting to uncover in the Midwest, really,” Peter Critchlow said Wednesday as he available a tour of the grounds. “But there is a have to have for it for the reason that there is so numerous folks that have unique animals and close up not becoming in a position to acquire care of them.”

Peter Critchlow draws the attention of 9-foot alligator "Tom" Wednesday, June 1, at Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary in Athens Township.

What started as a mini sanctuary of snakes, turtles and iguanas rescued by Peter’s father, David Critchlow, at the family’s Pennfield residence in the 1990s and early 2000s has remodeled into a complete-scale rescue exertion and thriving business.

Formally introduced in 2008, the sanctuary now can take in about 25-30 alligators each year, lots of of which have worn out their welcome as household pets.