Home to various tourist spots and exciting places, Mississippi is undoubtedly one of the best destinations for recreation and vacation. Known as the “Cotton Capital of the World,” the state has around 825 cotton fields producing about 1.4 million bales of cotton yearly.
Mississippi is also home to the only cactus plantation in the world, located in Edwards, Mississippi. The state is also widely known for its delicious food, music history, culture, and wildlife.
Of all the species of wildlife living here, one of those that stand out is the alligator. We all know that these carnivorous reptiles are known for their speed and strength in hunting and may grow to incredibly large sizes! But did you know there might be a much bigger alligator lurking within Mississippi?
Today, we’re going to talk about the biggest alligator found in Mississippi, some alligator-infested places within the state, the current status of alligators, and more amazing facts about these fierce and unique reptiles.
How big is the biggest alligator found in Mississippi?
Adult alligators usually grow from 8 to 15 feet long. Among the approximately 30,000 alligators thriving within the state of Mississippi, 20% are over ten feet long. Alligators in Mississippi also grow larger than alligators in neighboring states like Florida and Louisiana since laws prohibit excessive hunting. This allows alligators to breed more and grow into larger sizes than alligators living in states with year-round alligator hunting.
The biggest alligator found in Mississippi was discovered in 2017 by a hunting party near Natchez. The alligator weighed 766.5 pounds and was 14 feet ¾ inches in length. It was considered the longest alligator taken by permitted hunters in Mississippi and is the largest alligator caught in the state.
What are alligator-infested places in Mississippi?
Alligators are found in almost every county, but Southeast Mississippi holds the record for the most alligator populations, with 25% of all Mississippi’s alligators found here. Although abundant everywhere in Mississippi, alligators are primarily found in counties such as Jackson, Harrison, Hancock, and the Pascagoula River System. Its basin is the most extensive drainage in North America, serving as a habitat for most alligators. The Mississippi River is also one of the places where alligators can be easily spotted.
How many alligators are there in Mississippi?
An estimated number of 32,000-38,000 alligators were found, and approximately 408,000 acres of alligator habitat within the state of Mississippi. Although fourteen Mississippi counties have reported no alligators, nuisance alligators in northern counties such as Coahoma, Lafayette, and Itawamba have recently been reported.
Jackson County has the highest estimated number of alligators, with about 7,500 or 24% of all alligators in Mississippi, thriving in its 57,000-acre area. Other highly populated counties with alligators include Hancock, with 3,900 or 12% of the state’s total, and Rankin, with 2,400 alligators, or 7.4% of the state’s total.
Do alligators in Mississippi attack humans?
There are no recorded alligator attacks in Mississippi. However, some state laws sometimes prohibit feeding an alligator, as it can turn into a dangerous situation. Although people know that feeding alligators is illegal and would cause them to have a dangerous interaction with the reptiles, some people have been reported to feed them unintentionally. An alligator might see a human as its potential prey if it is being fed too frequently.
Is it safe to swim in the Mississippi River?
Earlier, it is mentioned that the Mississippi River is one of the alligator-infested places in Mississippi. Alligators are nocturnal and hunt primarily at night, so it’s best to prohibit yourself from swimming during these hours. Other than alligators, the river is also home to other dangerous animals such as the bull shark, cottonmouth snake, coral snake, and other venomous snake species.
What do you do if you see an alligator?
Suppose you are a tourist just enjoying your time and suddenly see an alligator swimming in the water or basking in the sun on land. In that case, it is advised that you call and report it to the authorities immediately. It is strictly prohibited to approach these ferocious creatures as they might initiate a dangerous attack, which can cause severe outcomes.
However, alligator sightings are usually not a problem unless they show no fear of humans and will appear as a threat to humans, pets, or even livestock. Then, they need to be removed and taken down immediately by those who have the authority to do so.
What are some other facts about alligators?
While almost everyone widely knows alligators, they still have many fascinating things. Here are some facts about alligators that will pique your interest in these ferocious reptiles.
- Alligators’ eyes glow in the dark because they also have the same structure as cats’ eyes, reflecting light to develop a sense of night vision. If their eyes are caught by a flashlight or glimpsed by a bright light, alligators’ eyes will have a red glow. You can also determine how big an alligator is by looking at the distance between its eyes: the farther the distance, the bigger the gator.
- We all know that alligators are mainly carnivores, right? But these fierce reptiles are also known to snack on different fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, wild grapes, and other citrus fruits.
- Alligators are very ancient animals, with American alligators having existed since 84 million years ago. They are also more closely related to dinosaurs than any other reptiles.
- Alligators can’t survive in salt water, unlike crocodiles.
- The sex of a baby alligator is determined by temperature. If the nest is raised in a warm setting, chances are a male alligator will be born, while cold temperatures will produce a female alligator.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Maryna Rayimova
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