Alligators are not native to Tennessee, but they are able to survive in the state’s climate and have been spotted across several lakes and rivers in the state.
The first confirmed sighting of a wild alligator in Tennessee was in 2010 with the capture of a 5-foot-long gator in Reelfoot Lake in Obion County.
Since then, more alligator sightings occurred in the western and southwestern parts of the state, especially near the Mississippi River.
Alligators have been expanding their range northward in recent years, and they have been spotted in several counties in Tennessee, including Shelby, Hardin, and Fayette.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) estimates that fewer than 1,000 alligators are in the state.
Lakes and rivers with alligators in Tennessee
Alligators have been spotted in a number of lakes and areas in Tennessee, including:
- Lake Chickamauga
- Lake Barkley
- Reelfoot Lake
- Mississippi River
- Tennessee River
- Wolf River Wildlife Management Area
- Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
- Shelby Farms Park
You are more likely to encounter alligators in in West Tennessee, which is the warmest part of the state and has the most suitable habitat for alligators.
Additionally, most of these locations are near or on the Mississippi River, which is a major alligator migration route.
Alligators in Tennessee FAQs
Are there alligators in Tennessee?
Yes, there are alligators in Tennessee.
However, the population is small, with an estimated fewer than 1,000 individuals, and sightings are rare.
Alligators are expanding their range northward from the southern border states, and they have been spotted in several counties in Tennessee, including Shelby, Hardin, and Fayette.
Are there crocodiles in Tennessee?
No, there are no crocodiles in Tennessee.
The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is the only species of crocodile found in the United States.
It is a native species to Florida and is found in the southern part of the state.
Q: What species of alligators are found in Tennessee?
The only species of alligator found in Tennessee is the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).
This species is not native to Tennessee, but it is expanding its range northward from the southern border states.
American alligators are found in a variety of habitats, including lakes, rivers, marshes, and swamps.
Are there alligators in Tennessee lakes?
Yes, alligators have been spotted in several lakes in Tennessee, including Lake Chickamauga, Lake Barkley, and Reelfoot Lake.
Alligators are able to live in a variety of water habitats, including lakes, rivers, marshes, and swamps, but they are still relatively rare in Tennessee.
Are there alligators in Tennessee rivers?
Yes. Alligators can be found in the Tennessee River, but they are still relatively rare.
Alligators are more likely to be found in the western and southwestern parts of the state, but they have been spotted in rivers throughout Tennessee.
Alligators are able to travel long distances in search of food and shelter, and the Tennessee River is a major waterway that connects Tennessee to several other states where alligators are more common.
Are there alligators in Norris Lake?
Yes, alligators have been spotted in Norris Lake, but they are still relatively rare. There have been no reports of alligator attacks in Norris Lake.
Norris Lake is a large reservoir located in eastern Tennessee. It is a popular destination for swimming, boating, and fishing.
Alligators are more likely to be found in the western and southwestern parts of the state, but they have been spotted in lakes throughout Tennessee.
Are there alligators in Nashville?
No. Alligators are not native to Nashville, and there is no evidence that they have ever established a breeding population in the city.
That said, alligators have been spotted in Nashville on a few occasions, likely as the result of being released by their owners or escaping from captivity.
Nashville is located in central Tennessee, far from the state’s borders with other states where alligators are more common.
Are there alligators in Memphis?
Yes. Alligators are more common in the Memphis area than in other parts of Tennessee.
This is because Memphis is located on the Mississippi River, which is a major alligator migration route.
Alligators can be found in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including the Wolf River and the Loosahatchie River.
Can you keep an alligator as a pet in Tennessee?
No, you cannot keep an alligator as a pet in Tennessee.
Alligators are classified as Class 1 wildlife in Tennessee, and it is illegal to possess Class 1 wildlife without a permit from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).
Permits are only issued to zoos, educational institutions, and other qualified organizations. Individuals cannot obtain a permit to keep an alligator as a pet.
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