The Top 10 Most Alligator-Infested Rivers In Louisiana

Group of Alligators
© Robert Gregory Griffeth/

Written by Lisa Bohler

Published: November 10, 2023

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Group of Alligators

A group of alligators sunning on a muddy river band in Louisiana

©Robert Gregory Griffeth/

Alligator-infested rivers in Louisiana are not hard to find. However, some of the rivers and bayous have larger populations of these reptiles than others do. The majority of the alligators in Louisiana are found in the southern portions of the state, but some rivers in the northern portions of the state have plenty of reptiles living in them.

Alligators are big and powerful reptiles. Most people would assume that they have no predators, but when they are young they are eaten by many animals, including birds and fish. When they grow larger some of the big cats like panthers will attack the reptiles. Also, humans kill alligators for food, for their hides, and sometimes just for sport.

1. Atchafalaya River

Majestic Atchafalaya river and swamp in Louisiana, aerial view

©Sasha Craig/

Our list of alligator-infested rivers in Louisiana begins with the Atchafalaya (pronounced  A-CHA-fa-LIE-a). The Atchafalaya is a distributary of the Mississippi River and Red River. This river is a 137-mile-long waterway that provides homes for alligators and other wildlife.

The Atchafalaya River is part of the Atchafalaya Swamp, therefore it is home to alligators, egrets, snakes, wild hogs, and other wildlife species. Alligators love swampy areas, and marshes. The Atchafalaya River gives the reptiles a perfect habitat.

2. Boeuf River

A closeup grayscale of an alligator in the water

Alligators are found in the Boef River between the Bartholomew and Mason Bayous.

©Mix Tape/

Boef means beef in French. When spoken in English, Boef sounds like “buhf”. The Boef River was initially called the Chetimachas River. This waterway is 106 miles long. The Boef River is second on the list of the most alligator-infested rivers in Louisiana.

The Beof Wildlife Management Area creates a safe haven for alligators and other species of wildlife. Therefore, the population of American alligators is higher in the Beof than in some other waterways.

3. Blind River

American alligator chilling

American alligators live in the Blind River and the areas surrounding the river.

© Pearl Photography

The 23-mile-long Blind Rivers is an alligator-infested river in Louisiana that runs through the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area. This is the perfect habitat for alligators because it offers an ample food supply and few encounters with humans.

Alligators you see lying on top of logs are basking in the sun. Basking gators appear to be at peace, however if they hear splashing they will slip into the water and investigate the possibility of a free meal.

4. Calcasieu River

The Calcasieu River at Cameron, Louisiana, seen from the car ferry, Acadia. The Gulf of Mexico is three miles straight ahead.

The Calcasieu River runs southward through Louisiana for 200 miles.

©Judy M Darby/

The fourth river on the list of the most alligator-infested rivers in Louisiana Is the Calcasieu River (pronounced Cahl-ka-shoo). The Calcasieu winds through 200 miles of the state, making paths through rural forest areas and several bayou areas.

This river is a vital supplier of freshwater to this portion of Louisiana. The Sabine National Wildlife Refuge covers the marshes between the Calcasieu River and the Sabine River. Marshes are perfect habitats for alligators.

5. Comite River

Alligator Basks in the Sun on a Grassy Riverbank waiting on a meal.

An American alligator lies in the sun on the banks of the Comite River.

©FlagtailsPhotography/iStock via Getty Images

Out of the ten most alligator-infested rivers in Louisiana, the Comite River comes in at number five. The Comite River is a 56-mile-long waterway that is a natural haven for alligators, fish, turtles, and other wildlife.

The Comite begins in East and West Feliciana parishes and makes its way to the eastern boundary of Baton Rouge and Denham Springs where it joins forces with the Amite River.

6. Ouachita River

Beautiful view of the Ouachita river in Columbia, Louisiana

The Ouachita River flows from Arkansas to Louisiana providing habitats for wildlife along the way.


When thinking of alligator-infested rivers in Louisiana you do not always think about rivers close to Akansas. The Ouachita River is a 605 mile waterway that meanders south and east across Arkansas and Louisiana. The rivers joins the Little River and the Tensas River in Jonesboro and forms the Black River.

Wildlife such as alligators, nutria rats, whitetail deer, and raccoons use this river as a source of food and water. The river supports the land along its banks, and that land supports the wildlife, creating a delicate balance where the animals rely on the waterway.

7. Red River

american crocodile vs american alligator

Alligators live, swim, and feed in the Red River.

© Proxmire

The Red River is a surprising waterway to be included in a list of the most alligator-infested rivers in Louisiana. This River is located in the northern portion of the state where the number of alligators is less than it is in the southern portions of the state. However, residents of Shreveport Louisisana say that the alligator population in the area is increasing each year.

One of the reasons why the Red River is dangerous is because the murky water hides the reptiles from sight. The Red River makes its way southward to the Atchafalaya basin, and then continues its journey until it spills into the Gulf of Mexico.

8. Sabine River

Sabine River at Logansport, Louisiana

The Sabine River runs along the boundary lines of Texas and Louisiana, but alligators call both sides home.

©Billy Hathorn at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 – Original / License

Alligator-infested rivers in Louisiana often share boundaries with other states. The Sabine River starts in Hunt County Texas, and meanders southward to create a boundary between Texas and Louisiana until the river reaches the Gulf of Mexico.

The Sabine National Wildlife Refuge Wetland Walkway is a prime river area where you can see alligators and other wildlife species. Protected areas like the walkway keep species like the American alligator from becoming endangered, however, the main goal of the walkway is to keep this marsh area alive.

9. Tchefuncte River

Beautiful sunset over Lake Pontchartrain and the causeway bridge. Colorful reflections in water.

The Tchefuncte River drains into Lake Pontchartrain.

©Vivian Shoultz/

Alligator-infested rivers in Louisiana flow through every section of Louisiana. The 70-mile-long Tchefuncte River Makes the list for having the largest population of these reptiles because of its location, and the the lands surrounding the river.

The Tchefuncte River begins in northeastern Tangipahoa Parish and journeys to Lake Pontchartrain. This river is called the heart of Louisiana, and the state has designated it a scenic river.

10. Tensas River

Moss draped Cypress trees in Lake Bruin on the Mississippi River at St Joseph, Tensas Parish, Louisiana

Tensas Parish, Louisiana, is home to the alligator-infested Tensas River.

©Norm Lane/iStock via Getty Images

Last but not least on this list of the most alligator-infested rivers in Louisiana is the 250-mile-long Tensas River. The Tensas started in East Carroll Parish as a bayou. When the Tensas reaches Jonesboro, it joins the Ouachita River, and the two waterways become the Black River.

American alligators make their homes in the marshes, lakes, swamps, creeks, bayous, and rivers of Louisiana. However, more alligators call the Tensas River home because of the Tensas River North Louisiana Wildlife Refuge (NWR). The refuge encompasses 80,000 acres and provides safe habitats to 400 animal species.

Summary Of The 10 Most Alligator-Infested Rivers In Louisiana

1Atchafalaya RiverSouth-Central Louisianais as a distributary of the Mississippi River and Red River
2 Boeuf Riversouthwest between the Bartholomew and Mason bayous into Louisiana
3Blind Riverruns through the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Are
4Calcasieu RiverSouthwestern Louisiana
5Comite River East and West Feliciana parishes and makes its way to the eastern boundary of Baton Rouge and Denham Springs
6Ouachita RiverSouth and east across Arkansas and Louisiana
7Red RiverIt runs from the northeast-southwest for 177 miles
8Sabine RiverRuns from the northeast-southwest for 177 miles
9Tchefuncte River21 Miles N of New Orleans Commerce
10Tensas RiverNortheastern and eastern Louisiana


Is it safe to swim in a river that has alligators in it?

It would be best if you did not swim in waters home to alligators. The splashing while you play in the water will attract the animals. If you do swim in a river that is known to have alligators in it, do not swim alone.

How many alligator attacks on humans happen each year?

In the United States, there are about six fatal alligator attacks each year. Florida has the record for the most fatalities caused by alligator attacks.

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About the Author

Lisa Bohler is a writer for A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Lisa has been writing and researching animals for over 12 years and holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Creative Writing from Liberty University, which she earned in 2021. A resident of Texas, Lisa enjoys fishing, gardening, and caring for the animals on her small hobby farm.

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