- With over 408,000 acres of possible alligator habitat, an estimated 32,000-38,000 alligators have lived in Mississippi.
- According to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, there are about 55 alligators currently making Okatibbee Lake their home.
- The Pascagoula River and its pristine drainage system make its bayous an excellent habitat for alligators. Combined with alligators in Jackson County, the two make up almost 30% of Mississippi’s alligator population.
Comprised of various natural habitats such as wetlands, woods, forests, grasslands, and beach fronts, it is no surprise that wildlife is diverse and plentiful in the southern state of Mississippi. The state is mainly known for being home to one of North America’s most extended rivers, the Mississippi River. It is also popular among wildlife enthusiasts for opportunities to encounter a wide range of species within a small radius.
Did you know that 84 species of reptiles, 426 species of birds, and over 120 species of fish make Mississippi their forever home? Due to the variety of habitats in the state, many interesting animals, like armadillos, bottlenose dolphins, flying squirrels, kingsnakes, and alligators, have been seen living here.
When speaking of alligators, Mississippi is one of the most alligator-infested places in the country. With over 408,000 acres of possible alligator habitat, an estimated 32,000-38,000 alligators have been living here. Most wild alligators have an average lifespan of 35 to 50 years but can live as long as humans.
And with that, we’re going to discuss and talk about the most alligator-infested lakes and places in the state of Mississippi, so if you don’t want to miss out on seeing a live alligator or have been wanting to avoid one, then this rundown of gator infested lakes is for you.
1. Okatibbee Lake
|Known for||Recreational activities, Water sports|
|Most relevant alligator sighting||2017|
With an 11,000-acre total size, Okatibbee Lake is a go-to place for families in Mississippi who want to experience nature, with just a drive away. Families and tourists will have a lot to do when visiting this lake, with one full-service campground, four parks, and three designated swimming areas.
Wildlife viewing, hunting, and fishing are among the most frequent activities. More than 6,000 acres of the land are licensed to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks to manage wildlife within this area. Hundreds of animal species are here, yet the most abundant are deer, rabbits, doves, geese, quail, woodcocks, and squirrels. Deer hunting and squirrel hunting are the most popular, with turkey hunting available during spring. Among these animals present within the lake premises, alligators can also be seen.
According to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, there are about 55 alligators currently making Okatibbee Lake their home. However, the last significant sighting dates back to 2017, when someone from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stated that he saw three alligators at the lake. There are still no major incidents between alligators and humans. Several cautions by the lake management are now made to prevent further interaction with potentially-dangerous alligators.
2. Grenada Lake
|Most relevant alligator sighting||2013|
Originally built as one of the four flood control reservoirs in Mississippi, Grenada Lake is also now open to the public for recreational activities such as water skiing, wakeboarding, and watercraft sports. Fishing is also an excellent sport here, as the lake hosts many fish species such as the channel catfish, flathead catfish, black crappie, white crappie, blue catfish, green sunfish, and white bass.
Alligators can also be found within the lake premises, with the most relevant sighting dating back to 2013 when festival-goers near the lake spotted and took a picture of a gator at Grenada Lake. After that sighting, specific cautions advise lake visitors to report to the authorities once they spot an alligator during their visit to the lake.
3. Mississippi River
|Known for||Diverse wildlife|
|Most relevant alligator sighting||2011|
One of the most extended river systems in the country, the Mississippi River is home to many wildlife species such as the paddlefish, leopard frog, cottontail, blue catfish, beaver, coyote, white-tailed deer, otter, muskrat, and even alligators. With its area spanning ten states, it would be no surprise if locals or tourists reported alligator sightings near or within the river.
The most relevant alligator sighting here happened in 2011 when a visitor at the lake spotted and captured a photo of a small 3-foot alligator at the Mississippi River. Since then, every state that the river flows through has imposed strict cautions that warn people to report alligator sightings immediately and stay out of the water unless supervised.
4. Pascagoula River
|Known for||Pascagoula River Audobon Center|
|Most relevant alligator sighting||2021|
The Pascagoula River is a wonder among many locals and tourists alike. It is historically called the “Singing River” according to legends that the death chants of the late Pascagoula Indian tribes can still be heard during the night. The river is also strongly preserved as it is one of the largest undammed rivers in the United States. It maintains its natural marshes and wetlands to provide a habitat for fish and different wildlife species such as the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, sturgeon, turtle, and woodpecker.
Of course, alligators are also something to watch out for along the Pascagoula River. The large river and pristine drainage make its bayous an excellent habitat for alligators. Combined with Jackson County, the two make up almost 30% of Mississippi’s alligator population. There have been several sightings of heavyweight alligators in the river. Still, the most relevant can be dated to last year, in 2021, when someone spotted a 12-foot gator within the Pascagoula River drainage system.
- A Complete History of Sharks in the Mississippi River: Believe it or not – there are sharks in the Mississippi River. Learn all about them here!
- Alligator Lifespan: How Long do Alligators Live?: We know that they are populous in Mississippi – but just how long do alligators live? Find out!
- Alligator Infested Lakes in Alabama: If alligators live in Mississippi and Florida – it only makes sense that they would reside in Alabama – but in which lakes?
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