The 10 Most Alligator Infested Lakes in the United States

Written by Taiwo Victor
Updated: September 5, 2022
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Key Points:
  • The majority of alligator infested lakes are in Florida, with Lake Jesup being the most infested lake in the United States. This lake in central Florida is home to an estimated 13,000 alligators.
  • You are more likely to see an alligator on the surface of the water in Florida during winter, because alligators prefer warm temperatures as this helps them maintain their ideal body temperature.
  • In the middle of the campus of the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, Cypress Lake is home to a multitude of alligators, as well as bullfrogs, turtles, birds, and fish.

The American alligator is one of North America’s biggest reptiles. When early Spanish explorers first discovered these massive reptiles, they called them “el legarto,” or “big lizard.” They live from middle Texas to North Carolina. The states with the most alligators are Louisiana and Florida, each with about one million wild alligators.

Alligators thrive in ponds, lakes, canals, rivers, and swamps. We often see them basking in the sun, but they will hunt at any time of day or night because they have a good sense of smell and vision in the dark. Even though gators are less dangerous than crocodiles, we would still need to take extra precautions in their presence. The first thing we need to figure out is which lakes are the most infested.

Below, we will explore the ten most alligator-infested lakes in the United States.

The 10 Most Alligator Infested Lakes in the United States 

    10. Caddo Lake, Louisiana

Caddo Lake
Due to the infestation of alligators, Caddo Lake isn’t a recreational place.

iStock.com/westtexasfish

Caddo Lake is a 25,400-acre (10,300-hectare) lake and bayou (wetland) on the Texas-Louisiana border, located in Harrison and Marion counties in Texas and Caddo Parish in Louisiana. It is the only spot on earth where you can find a swamp vibe, stay in a historic cabin, lose phone service, fish over 70 species, and paddle along 50 miles of rivers. Caddo Lake is home to owls, snakes, frogs, waterfowl, bobcats, river otters, beavers, eagles, and alligators. It is not the kind of lake where you swim—because of the risk of alligators. In a nutshell, it isn’t a recreational place. It’s a sight to behold, a location where you should sit silently and listen for little, watery sounds, imagining what might be making them.

    9. Lake Lewisville, Texas

Lake Lewisville
One of the largest lakes in north Texas, Lewisville Lake, is infested with alligators.

ZeKing/Shutterstock.com

Lewisville Lake is one of the largest lakes in north Texas, with 29,000 acres and 233 miles of shoreline. Fishing, skiing, swimming, relaxing, and boating are popular activities on this recreational lake. You might encounter many things while driving along I-35 W’s access route. There are mammals like bobcats, white-tailed deer, mink, birds like wild turkeys and painted buntings, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies, and other invertebrates. A massive alligator crossing the road is not something you expect to see. They are native to the area, and there are some well-known populations around Lake Lewisville in Denton County. In 2015, a 9-foot alligator made Lake Lewisville its new home. If you’re walking near the water and an alligator approaches you, especially if it emerges from the water, it’s most likely a nuisance alligator. 

    8. Cypress Lake, Louisiana

Cypress Lake
Serving as a wild alligator habitat, Cypress Lake is an alligator infested lake.

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Cypress Lake began as a prehistoric bison wallow and is now a 2-acre (0.8 ha) swamp-like lake in the middle of the University of Louisiana at the Lafayette campus. It is now a unique university landmark that serves as a habitat for native irises, bullfrogs, turtles, birds, fish, and a gathering spot for students and a tourist attraction in Lafayette, Louisiana. It also serves as a wild alligator habitat. Because alligators equate humans with food, feeding them in the lake can become a problem. If released into the wild, gators will endanger public safety. Although there is a rumor that alligators are removed from Cypress Lake after they reach a particular size, Rodriguez and Joey Pons, the university’s associate director of public safety, deny this.

    7. Lake Poinsett, Florida

Alligator hunting is quickly gaining in popularity across the southern United States. In 15 years, Lake Poinsett had more hunted gators than any other place in the state. It is not recommended to paddle during the mating season in the spring because of the enormous number of alligators in the area. Bringing small pets is also not a good idea. Lake Poinsett is located slightly inland on the St Johns River, a couple of miles west of Rockledge.

    6. Sawgrass Lake, Florida

Sawgrass Lake
If you like viewing and learning about nature, Sawgrass Lake is the place for you.

Jason Caunter/Shutterstock.com

Sawgrass Lake is a wildlife reserve in Tampa Bay, Florida, designed for people who like viewing and learning about nature. Apple snails, turtles, and snakes sunbathe on exposed logs near the lake’s edge. Common species include white ibis, common moorhens, herons, and egrets. It’s also a great spot to see alligators! During the winter, wildlife sightings, particularly alligators, are prevalent.

Alligators prefer warm temperatures as this helps them maintain their ideal body temperature, which is why you are more likely to see them during Florida’s winter season. During this time, you will commonly see them on the water’s surface. However, you are not out of luck if you visit during the summer since we have observed gators at numerous parks throughout the peak summer.

    5. Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Lake Okeechobee
Florida’s Inland Sea, Lake Okeechobee, is one of the largest natural freshwater lake in the United States.

Allison Michael/Shutterstock.com

Lake Okeechobee, often known as Florida’s Inland Sea, is the state’s largest freshwater lake. It is the eighth largest natural freshwater lake in the United States and the second-largest natural freshwater lake entirely within the contiguous 48 states. It is home to around 40 native fish species and introduced species. Diverse wading birds, including egrets, ibises, wood storks, herons, and alligator populations, rely on these fish stocks. Lake Okeechobee supports over 3,800 different arthropods, including insects and arachnids, along with around 400 species of nematodes. But what’s more interesting is that the lake has at least 30,000 alligators due to its size and availability of suitable habitats.

    4. Alligator Lake, Florida

Alligator Lake, Columbia County, Florida
Because of its semi-rural location, Alligator Lake provides a natural habitat for many wildlife animals.

Michael Rivera / Creative Commons – License

Alligator Lake is a freshwater lake located in Osceola County, not far from Disneyworld. It’s part of a chain of lakes in south central Florida known for their fishing, boating, and bird watching. Alligator lake is also called the “Headwaters of the Everglades.” In addition to alligators, it is home to largemouth bass, bluegill, bowfin, gar, and redear sunfish. And yes, despite its name, it is still not the top lake with most alligators. They live in this lake, and it has provided a natural habitat for many wildlife animals because of its still semi-rural location. Do not allow your dogs or children to swim in waters inhabited by alligators or drink or play at the edge of the water. A splash could indicate the presence of a food source in the water to an alligator. It is better to avoid swimming in regions where giant alligators are known to congregate, but at the very least, never swim alone.

    3. Lake Kissimmee, Florida

Lake Kissimmee
Alligators are present in Lake Kissimmee and the state park.

iStock.com/Juliana Vilas Boas

Lake Kissimmee is a lake in Osceola County, Florida, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of Lake Wales. The lake is almost entirely in Osceola County, but the western shore and a tiny portion of the lake are in Polk County. It is rich with wildlife, including bald eagles, white-tailed deer, ospreys, bobcats, turkeys, and sandhill cranes. Alligators abound in the lake and the state park. After paying a nominal entrance fee, explore the nature trails. You might come across a gigantic alligator getting some rays along the way. Take photos from a safe distance to avoid disturbing the alligator, and if you see a particularly massive gator, notify a park ranger so they can be sure it makes it back to its habitat. With 1,935 gators and 170 bull gators, Lake Kissimmee came in third for the most gators.

    2. Lake George, Florida

Lake George
Sometimes known as Lake Welaka, Lake George is the second-largest lake in Florida.

iStock.com/Dronegb

Lake George, sometimes known as Lake Welaka, is a shallow brackish lake on the St. Johns River in Florida, United States. It is the second-largest lake in Florida, after Lake Okeechobee. The waters of Lake George and the watershed, particularly around the shoreline, are home to a diverse range of plants, fish, and wildlife. The majority are beneficial to a healthy ecology, but some are pests and invaders. While the majority of the plants, fish, and mammals in Lake George live in a healthy environment, some newcomers are invading the lake and jeopardizing the ecosystem’s balance. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, Lake George has 2,322 gators, 26 of which are bull gators. Alligator encounters are plentiful year-round, making it the second most alligator-infested lake in the United States. In 2013, shocking news came out about a Florida couple who killed a 13-foot gator while hunting in Lake George. What’s more surprising is that it wasn’t even the largest gator caught in Florida that year.

    1. Lake Jesup, Florida

Lake Jesup
Although alligator attacks are rare, Lake Jesup is the most alligator infested lake in the United States.

Thomas Decot/Shutterstock.com

Lake Jesup is one of Central Florida’s largest lakes and one of the many that make up the St. Johns River. The lake, located in the heart of Seminole County along the middle basin of the St. Johns River, covers roughly 16,000 acres (65 sq km) of open water and floodplain. The lake is an important nesting and feeding ground for many birds, such as the Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron, and Snowy Egret. Many more species thrive in the shallow marshes and hydric hammocks on this site, including the American alligator, river Otter, and Florida box turtle. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates 13,000 gators in Lake Jesup, with 1.3 million gators statewide. So when it comes to population density, that would make it the state’s favorite spot for alligators. The great news, alligator attacks are rare. But it’s always a good idea to keep your distance from them.

Summary of the 10 Most Alligator Infested Lakes in the United States

Here is a quick recap of the top 10 lakes in the US that are overrunning with alligators:

RankLakeLocation
1Lake JesupFlorida
2Lake GeorgeFlorida
3Lake KissimmeeFlorida
4Alligator LakeFlorida
5Lake OkeechobeeFlorida
6Sawgrass LakeFlorida
7Lake PoinsettFlorida
8Cypress LakeLouisiana
9Lake LewisvilleTexas
10Caddo LakeLouisiana

Up Next…

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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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