Alligators are some of the most interesting animals that live in the United States. Despite the data that shows just how uncommon alligator attacks actually are, these reptiles are often viewed with extreme fear. Thankfully, not every state has a native population of alligators. Still, some do! Today, we are going to compare the states with alligators and see which one has the most.
Let’s discover: The 10 most alligator-infested states: Ranked
Where do Alligators live?
Alligators are cold-blooded reptiles, meaning they require external heat in order to regular their internal body temperature. As a result, they can only live where there is sufficient sunlight and heat to warm them up. While they can brumate (a reptile version of hibernation) during cold months, alligators generally stick to areas with water that doesn’t freeze over for too much of the year.
In the United States, only 10 states out of 50 have a native alligator population. While they may occasionally show up in others, they aren’t breeding and living there year-round. Let’s rank these 10 states to see who has the most!
The 10 most alligator-infested states: Ranked
1. Louisiana (2 million)
It may come as no surprise that Lousiana is the most alligator-infested state in the entire US. The massive swampland and warm climate mean that Louisiana is the perfect home for these scaly reptiles. The most recent data shows that Lousiana is home to over 2 million wild alligators across the state, with an additional 1 million located on farms. The state is quite famous for alligator farming and harvesting, accounting for hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue brought to the state.
2. Florida (1.3 million)
The second most alligator-infested state in the US is Florida. Like Lousiana, Florida has a massive area of swampland (the Everglades), and year-round sun makes for ideal conditions for the gators. Any standing body of water in Florida could house a gator, making swamps, rivers, lakes, and drainage pools all potentially dangerous. Florida is also home to Gainesville, the most alligator-infested city in the US.
3. Texas (400-500,000)
Everything is big in Texas! When it comes to gators, Texas comes in third for total population. Texas has 400-500,000 alligators within its borders. These reptiles can be found from the Sabine River to the Gulf of Mexico, and the coastal marshes near the Rio Grande. Of the 254 counties in the state, 120 have gators.
4. Georgia (200-250,000)
Although there aren’t as many gators in Georgia as the top three states, there are still plenty! Georgia is home to between 200-250,000 alligators, primarily in the southern region of the state. In fact, almost all gators can be found south of the “fall line”, a line that travels through Columbus, Macon, and Augusta. Alligators found north of this line were most likely brought there by humans.
5. South Carolina (100,000)
Of the Carolinas, South Carolina is the most alligator-infested state. South Carolina has around 100,000 gators within its borders, primarily in the south and along the coast. Although South Carolina is warmer, on average than North Carolina, it can still get quite cold. As a result, the populations of gators begin to drop the further north you move. Coastal marshlands around the state are key breeding grounds for these reptiles.
6. Alabama (70,000)
Alabama isn’t well-known for its gators, but they have a total population of around 70,000 individuals! Like the other, more northern states, on the list, the only places you can find these creatures are in the southern regions. Most of the gators fall in the lower half of the state, with populations in the northern half being nearly non-existent. Gators in the state prefer wetlands, lakes, rivers, and even a few reservoirs.
7. Mississippi (32-38,000)
The home of the Mississippi River has its fair share of gators too! Mississippi is home to just under 50,000 alligators. A few sources claim that alligators can be found in every county of the state, although they aren’t as densely populated as some of the other states on the list. Still, 25% of the entire state’s population lives in the southeastern region.
8. Arkansas (2,000-3,000)
Arkansas has had an increasing population of alligators each year, especially as the temperature warms due to climate change. Currently, Arkansas is estimated to have 2,000-3,000 individuals, with a stable and growing population each year. They are widely distributed through the southeastern and southwestern regions of the state, although densities are quite low.
9. North Carolina (1,000)
While many don’t know it, gators live through many regions of North Carolina. There is an estimated population of 1,000+ alligators that live in North Carolina, with that number seemingly increasing a bit each year. Almost all of the high-density populations of alligators live south of the Albermarle sound, although some individuals have been reported through the entire coastal region of the state.
10. Oklahoma (100-200)
The state that is probably least known for alligator populations is Oklahoma. Oklahoma is home to between 100-200 individuals, but they constitute a stable population. Most of the state gets much too cold for gators to survive the winter, but there are some small regions that allow for a small population. The only places that gators live in Oklahoma are the Red and Little Rivers, primarily in around Choctaw, Bryan, McCurtain, and Love counties.
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