Are There Alligators in Greers Ferry Lake?

Updated On May 16, 2023
Greers Ferry Lake

Greers Ferry Lake is located northeast of Herber Springs, Arkansas, and is a well-known lake in the area.

The lake is situated on the Little Red River.

It is an award-winning reservoir and one of the largest dams in the state.

It is considered to be a shining example of cleanliness and one of the cleanest lakes in the country.

The lake features lakeside resorts, restaurants, world-class lodging, and campgrounds. 

The climate of the area is considered to be humid and subtropical. 

So… Are There Alligators in Greers Ferry Lake?

If you consider the climate of the area and the fact that Greers Ferry Lake is a freshwater reservoir, you’ll be excused for thinking that the lake may have some alligators in it.

But those visiting the park for its many recreational activities can rest easy as there are no alligators in this lake.

The truth of the  matter is that there are only two locations in Arkansas that are home to alligators and those are:

  • The marshes of Milkwood State Park
  • Dumas (Arkansas County)

Milkwood State Park is approximately 261 miles southwest of Greers Ferry Lake or just under five hours of driving away and Dumas is approximately 165 miles southeast of Greers Ferry Lake, or about two and a half hours’ drive away from the lake. 

Alligator Species in Greers Ferry Lake

There are no alligators present in Greers Ferry Lake, but there are alligators present in Milkwood State Park and Dumas in Arkansas County.

We will look at the alligator species present in Arkansas in these two locations.

There are only two alligator species left in the world.

The first is the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis). 

The American alligator is the gator present in Arkansas.

The American alligator thrives in tropical and subtropical conditions.

Arkansas has a predominantly subtropical climate, which is ideal for the American alligator as it is a cold-blooded reptile.

That means that the alligator needs to rely on the environment that it is in to regulate its body temperature.

You’ll often see the American alligator basking in the sunlight.

The American alligator was once on the endangered species list but has been removed due to its rising numbers.

However, in Arkansas, the American alligator still enjoys protection under the Arkansas laws. 

The alligator typically grows to 11 feet in length and the largest recorded alligator weighed up to 1,000 pounds in weight.

They are typically dark gray or black in color with a lighter underbelly and have webbed feet that allow them to swim faster in order to catch their prey in the water.

The alligator has four short legs that enable it to run very fast for short distances at a time.

The fastest recorded speed was up to 35 miles per hour. 

The American alligator has five toes on its front feet and four toes on its back feet.

They are opportunistic hunters and are rarely aggressive towards humans but alligator attacks are not uncommon and there are several fatalities each year across the US in regions where alligator populations thrive. 

Alligators are cannibals and often prey on snakes, frogs, mammals, turtles, fish, and birds.

Because of their diet, the American alligator can easily go through 2,000 teeth in their lifetime, though they only have 80 teeth in their mouth at any given time.

They often lose teeth when eating on difficult-to-chew prey but will quickly regrow the missing tooth. 

Is it Safe to Swim in Greers Ferry Lake?

The dam is often frequented by tourists and visitors to the area.

There are many recreational activities that take place on and around the dam.

People often come to the area to swim, jetski, water ski, or paddleboat.

There have been several fatalities reported over the years on the lake.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the lake generates electricity for nearby areas. 

Visitors are advised to check the generation schedule of the dam before entering the water.

When temperatures are on the rise, there will also be an increased demand for energy.

When this happens, the dam is required to generate more energy.

When energy is generated by the dam, the water levels and currents will rapidly increase.

This can be extremely dangerous and is known to have been the cause of several fatalities in the water. 

There are several reasons for the fatalities, including boating accidents, strong currents, and boats and kayaks capsizing.

Swimmers only need to practice reasonable caution when visiting the water. 

Interesting Alligator Facts in Greers Ferry Lake

As previously mentioned, there are no alligators in Greers Ferry Lake but there are gators in other parts of the state

Alligator hunting is permitted in Arkansas and gators can be hunted in the fall provided that the hunters have a permit issued by the Arkansas Game and Fish commission.

Although Arkansas has a subtropical climate, the winters do still get cold.

A very interesting fact about the alligators in Arkansas is that they do not eat during the wintertime because their bodies are not warm enough to digest food.

As previously mentioned, alligators are cold-blooded reptiles that require external heat to regulate their bodies.

You may, however, see them basking in the sun during the winter in Arkansas. 

The female will build a nest from vegetation on the ground for her eggs to hatch in.

The temperature of the nest will determine the sex of the hatchlings.

The female will protect the nest and hatchlings for up to two years after they have hatched. 

It is illegal to feed alligators in Arkansas as the alligators may lose their fear of humans.

This in and of itself poses a series of threats to humans.

At present, it is uncommon for alligators to attack humans in Arkansas because of this law which prohibits the feeding of alligators. 

Alligators are native to Arkansas but only reside in the lower half of the state as they are unable to handle the cold winters in the northern parts of Arkansas.

Alligators have been present in Arkansas for thousands of years.


Alligators vs. Crocodiles

Many people may confuse alligators and crocodiles.

They are from the same scientific order but these two reptiles belong to two different families.

Crocodiles belong to the Crocodylidae family and alligators belong to the Alligatordae family.

When you look at an alligator versus a crocodile there is one distinct difference that will help you to tell them apart: their snout.

The alligator has a short, U-shaped snout while the crocodile has a long, V-shaped snout.

Staying on the topic of their mouth, the alligator has an overbite that makes only its top teeth visible when its mouth is shut.

The crocodile, on the other hand, does not have an over or underbite. Its teeth perfectly integrate when its mouth is shut.

Both its upper and lower teeth are visible when the crocodile closes its mouth.

Furthermore, the alligator has 80 teeth while the crocodile only has 66 teeth.

But, the alligator may go through 2,000 teeth throughout its lifetime. 

Visually, there is another clue: their color.

The alligator, as previously mentioned, is darker gray or black in color, while the crocodile is lighter green or brown.

The American alligator is somewhat smaller than the crocodile.

The alligator will grow to a length of 11 feet, while the crocodile may grow up to 20 feet in length.

There is a distinct difference in their life spans as well.

The American alligator may live to be between 30 and 50 years old, while the crocodile will live up to 100 years.

It has been noted that female alligators will often mate with the same male partner for life, whereas crocodile hatchlings are known to come from multiple male partners.

3 Safety Tips for Swiming in Alligator-infested Waters

  1. The most important tip is to keep an eye out for any advisory boards near a body of water. If the advisory board warns visitors against swimming in water that may be known to host alligators, it is best to heed the warning and steer clear of the water. In addition, always do research when visiting a new location to determine which threats are present at that location. Only swim in the water if allowed and only swim in areas that are designated for swimming.
  2. Always keep children and small animals away from the banks of a body of water known to host alligators. In addition, keep small animals on a leash. The alligators will not attack unprovoked but may mistake small children or animals for prey and attack. Remain vigilant when around any body of water known to have alligators present.
  3. Never feed or harass alligators. If you are in a public swimming area where there are employees that monitor the area, inform the employees immediately if you spot an alligator near the swimming area or if you notice anyone feeding or harassing alligators near the designated swimming area. Again, alligators are not known to be aggressive towards humans, but constant feeding may take their fear of humans away and they will come closer and even attack when unprovoked.


There are alligators present in Arkansas.

However, their presence is limited to the southern parts of the state due to the fact that they are unable to withstand the cold weather typically experienced in the northern parts of the state.

There are no known alligators present in Greers Ferry Lake, but there are alligators present in the southeastern and southwestern parts of the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have there been any alligator attacks in Arkansas?

There are no actual reports of any unprovoked alligator attacks in the state.

The key word here is unprovoked.

Furthermore, there are no known deaths reported in Arkansas due to alligator attacks.

It is very uncommon for alligators to attack humans in Arkansas.

This could be partly due to their strict laws of not feeding or harassing the reptile.

The alligators are still very afraid of humans and won’t come closer.

Is it safe to kayak in lakes with alligators?

The odds of being attacked while out kayaking seem to be very low, as alligators do not attack unless provoked.

However, there have been reports in certain areas where alligators have attacked kayaks completely unprovoked.

In addition, kayaking in alligator-infested waters does raise the danger of being attacked.

The alligator may confuse the splashing of the oars for a source of food and may attack the kayak.

How many alligators are there in Arkansas?

Arkansas has a much lower alligator population than its southern counterparts.

There are approximately 2,000 to 3,000 alligators in Arkansas presently.

1 Comment on Are There Alligators in Greers Ferry Lake?

  1. S
    Stanley says:

    Greers Ferry Lake is a safe place to swim as there are no alligators present in the lake, but it’s important to be cautious of strong currents and follow safety guidelines.

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