Alligator visits NIU for Earth Day

By Aquantonice Benison

Bubba the Amazing Alligator, who measures in at 7-foot-2 and weighs 226 pounds, has been spending his time in the limelight.

He has been seen with Oprah, he has been on the “Today Show” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” he has received a kiss from Kelly Ripa and Wednesday night he appeared at the Holmes Student Center’s Diversions Lounge.

The Committee for the Preservation of Wildlife invited Bubba and his owner, Jim Nesci, to help kick off the Earth Day Celebration, which begins today.

The Earth Day Celebration goes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the King Memorial Commons and picks back up on Saturday with the Annual Walk-for-Wildlife 20K from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., which begins at Holmes Student Center.

Wednesday night, Bubba gave rides to three kids in the audience.

“It’s very cool he has animals you can touch, and they are so tame that their mouths don’t have to be taped closed,” said Courtney Nash, the committee’s president and a junior communication major.

Nesci has 34 other cold-blooded creatures, all of which live in his basement with Bubba. On Wednesday, Nesci brought four other reptiles with him.

Nesci allowed audience members to hold the animals and pet them.

Nash said she thought the presentation was a success.

“I personally like how he talked about the environment and about having them as pets,” Nash said. “I would definitely like to have him back again. The kids loved it.”