Are There Alligators In Alabama?

Updated On October 3, 2023

A stranger to the southern parts of the United States may develop a phobia of the water bodies.

The idea of encountering a giant, predator reptile residing in the waters when swimming is not comforting.

Alligators are present in most southern states of U.S. water bodies.

Alabama‘s climate, geographical features, and vegetation offer a natural habitat conducive to alligators’ survival.

Alligators’ presence is in freshwater lakes, ponds, marshy areas, and streams.

Although initially, you could only find alligators in southern Alabama, reports of their sightings in the northern parts are increasing.


Are There Alligators In Alabama?

 The answer to this question is a definite yes.

If you take a tour to the south of Alabama, you will likely see an alligator.

In the northern parts of Alabama, you can visit Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge to glimpse these gigantic reptiles.

How come alligators live in an area far from their natural habitat?

At one time, the alligators in Alabama were under threat of extinction.

An effort in 1979 to expand their territory north, aiming to protect and increase the alligator population, saw 56 of the animals given sanctuary at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

However, the freezing temperatures of north Alabama threaten alligator hatchlings’ survival.

The conditions in the north of Alabama contribute to the declining growth rate of the gators’ population.

The best site to see an alligator north of Alabama is a visit to the Tennessee River in the region.   

Which Places Can You Visit To See An Alligator In Alabama?

A visit to the southern half of Alabama will give you a high chance of seeing an alligator.

The region is estimated to have 70,000 of the total Alabama alligator population.

You will get to see alligators in the rivers Perdido and Escambia. Lake Forest, Eufala, and Big creek are other water bodies where alligators have found a home in Alabama.

Alligators are also present in wetlands and marshes common along the south coast regions.

Hugh Branyon Back Country Trail

The trail is for use by cyclists, hikers, and joggers alike.

The paved ways will take you through a maritime forest over wetlands, dunes, and lakes.

The waters below Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trail are home to many alligators, and while enjoying the opportunity to exercise, you will spot an alligator in the wild.

Alligator Alley

You can see an alligator in the Gulf Coast town without going far into the wild.

Alligator Alley in the town of Daphne is one of the best places to watch alligators.

The alley’s wide boardwalk snakes around the banks of Mobile Bay and over D’Olive Creek.

The trail is safe even for young children, having erected measures in place to prevent young ones from straying.

Village Point Park Preserve

If you are looking for someplace closer to town, Village Point Park Preserve in Daphne will allow you to see gators.

A section (0.1 miles) of the two miles of hiking trails in the park has boardwalks over murky waters of an inlet to Mobile Bay.

You will easily spot an alligator among the tall grass.

Village Point Park Preserve boardwalks have designs to guarantee safety even for young children.

A hike in the park will also allow you to see blue crabs, the great blue heron, and snakes dangling from trees near the water.

Mobile-Tensaw River Delta

Do you have a passion for paddling?

The Mobile-Tensaw river delta offers you a lifetime experience of paddling the Bartram Canoe Trail.

On the trail, you will navigate through channels and bayous from which you can watch alligators basking or sliding off the banks.

It would be best if you got a guide when embarking on the trail.

Otherwise, one can easily get lost in the jungle.

Alligator Species In Alabama

There aren’t many species of alligators.

According to scientific classification, the commonly identified alligators are the American Alligator, a native only in America, and the Chinese Alligators roaming in Chinese waters.

Alligator Missippiensis (American) and Alligator Sinesis (Chinese) belong to the Crocodylidae family in the sub-family Alligatorianae.

Any alligator you will see during your visit to Alabama is the American Alligator. 

Is It Safe To Swim In Alabama Waters?

 We strictly advise not to swim in water bodies harboring alligators.

Are there safe places where I can swim in Alabama?

Although in Alabama, alligators have the freedom to live freely in nature.

There are plenty of safe places where you can swim without worrying about the reptiles.

Places you can swim without fear of alligators in Alabama

Swimming Holes

Beat the excessive summer cooling off in Alabama in a lake, creek, or river.

There are swimming holes located along these water bodies in Alabama.

Check out the following swimming halls on your summer vacation in Alabama.

Cahaba River

The 194 miles long river is the longest free-flowing river in Alabama.

The Cahaba River boasts of being the most diverse biologically in the country.

Along the river are swimming holes where you can splash the summer heat away.

Waterfall Sites

There are some swimming holes located on waterfall sites.

Try out these sites enjoyed by both locals and visitors.

  • Upper Caney Creek Falls
  • Turkey Creek Falls
  • Devil’s Den Falls
  • DeSoto Falls
  • Mardis Mill Falls

The lakes in Alabama have swimming sites where you can enjoy your strokes and water maneuvers.

You can visit sites on the following lakes for that dip you long for.

  • Lake Nicol
  • Lake Shelby
  • Lake Lurleen
  • Lake Martin at Wind Creek State Park

While in Alabama, take the chance to swim in one of the top-ranking swimming holes in the state, Little River Canyon. 

You can swim near waterboards or have artificial pools in different recreation facilities.

Interesting Alligator Facts

  • Alligator mating season is April through May, with breeding occurring openly in water. An alligator mother lays 30 – 70 eggs for her brood.
  • Mama alligator incubates her eggs using nature in a nest built of mud and vegetation. The temperature inside the mound determines the sex of her babies. Males require higher temperatures than females.
  • Baby alligators grow a foot yearly in the early four years of life. At six feet, an alligator matures sexually, and since the males grow much faster, they tend to mature earlier than females.
  • Alligator eyes glow in the darkness.

Alligator Vs Crocodiles

It is easy to confuse the two. Both are of the same order but in a different family.

The reptiles inhabit similar territories—alligators and crocodiles exist on other continents.

To differentiate the two, you can use some pointers – location of sighting, the shape of the snout, color, and observing its closed mouth.

There is no way you can come across an alligator in the ocean.

An alligator lacks the necessary glands to excrete salt and can’t survive in salty waters. In Alabama, there are no crocodiles.

An alligator snout is broad and U-shaped at the end, while a crocodile has a narrower, sharp snout.

Safety Tips When Swimming In Alligator Infested Waters

Human/alligator conflicts are rare. There are reported cases of human attack by an alligator.

The reptiles can grow to a length of more than 14 Ft, twice the height of the average tallest man, and weigh the weight of a man significantly.

Alligators will attack or defend themselves by biting their victim.

A gator bite can lead to a fatality or inflict a life-changing injury.

Avoid Swimming In Wild Water Bodies Known To Harbor.

Why look for engulfment with this creature in water?

The alligators are large, and their attack in water can cause an injury, making you face two desperate battles: drowning and fending off the animal.

Remember, an alligator is more adapted to navigating in water.

Leave The Alligators Family Affairs Alone.

An alligator is protective of her family.

She keeps guard of her nest, awaiting the eggs to hatch.

An approach to a territory with such a nest is an intrusion.

Mama alligator will protect her eggs with everything she has.

At hatching, baby alligators need their mother’s protection for two years.

Adult alligators consider baby alligators a delicacy, and so do other predators.

Approaching an area where a mother alligator is nursing her babies is offensive and considered a threat.

She will respond by fending you off before you even get near her children.

Children and Pets Are A No In Waters Infested With Alligators

An alligator’s menu grows and widens with age—alligators capture when young people feed on insects, tadpoles, fish fingerings, and small creatures.

With age, they target other prey, including water birds, rodents, and deer.

The larger the reptile, the more daring it becomes when targeting prey.

A child or a pet splashing in water can be intercepted and interpreted by an alligator intelligence to mean an easy meal.

The reptile can play maneuvers in water to directly attack the source of such a promising venture.

An alligator is larger than you in all ways, especially in water.

A successful attack by an alligator while in water can cause a critical injury, resulting in an even quick drowning.

Humans’ capabilities of staying in water have limitations.

We can swim, and every moment in water is a struggle.

Failure to maintain the necessary skills in the water and facing an attacking reptile are two challenging situations.


A vacation in Alabama will give you and your loved ones a memorable adventure.

Come and interact with our heritage – Alligators while paddling, hiking, riding, or even strolling within the parks.

Adhere to set down rules and caution when near waters infested with alligators.

When going swimming, there are plenty of safe places to dip without the threat of alligators.

Alabama Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Alabama Safety Review

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Many People Die Every Year From Alligator Attacks?

The numbers are very minimal.

Reported fatalities in an alligator attack are few and far between.

Alligators shy away from humans and would rather skater away than attack.

Never approach an alligator.

It can become defensive and attack.

An alligator bite can be fatal, and you should seek medical help.

Why Are There Few Or No Alligators Sites In The North Of Alabama?

Alligators’ fingerlings struggle to survive the harsh cold temperatures of the north.

Freezing temperatures make alligators inactive and spend most of their time basking to balance their body temperature.

An alligator in this period cannot digest food due to low body temperatures.

Can An Alligator Capsize A Boat?

A moving boat on a river or lake will look large for an alligator to attack.

The alligators in the water will tend to move out of the way of the oncoming boat.

When paddling in a canoe, the oars scare away the reptile and prevent an attack.

Why Are People Prohibited From Feed Alligators?

The aim is to discourage human interaction and to maintain the respect alligators accord humans.

Feeding alligators will make the reptiles start to see man as a food source.

The alligators will eventually change their behavior, and instead of shying away from men, they can begin to approach men aiming to get a meal.

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