Texas’ Alligator Hotspots: Nature’s Most Fascinating Predators

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Alligators they’re good at keeping to themselves and hiding out. That’s why it may surprise you to find out there are alligators in Texas. So, if you’re planning a trip to the Lone Star state, you may wonder, where are alligators in Texas?

The majority of the alligator population in Texas is in the eastern area. These animals spend their lives in rivers, wetlands, and marshes. That includes counties like Orange, Liberty, and Jefferson.

2 Alligators in the marsh at Anahuac wild life natuer reserve. - Texas View

Where Can You Find Alligators in Texas?

Texas is the second largest state in both area and population. As you can imagine, that means there are many habitats across the region for wildlife to thrive.

There are marches, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and even swamps. Since alligators prefer areas with plenty of water, these are excellent breeding grounds.

However, alligators tend to keep to one spot and avoid migration when they can. That’s why you’ll find most of the population close to the southeast of the state. That includes counties like:

  • Orange
  • Chambers
  • Liberty
  • Jefferson
American Alligator Alligator Mississippiensis - Texas View

What Is the Alligator Population in Texas?

Figuring out the exact number of alligators in Texas can be a little tricky. This is because these creatures are reclusive. They like to keep to themselves and shy away from humans.

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In addition, there are alligators spread over a few different habitats. As close as we can estimate, you should be able to find around 400,000 to 500,000 of these animals. This translates to roughly one alligator for every 60 people in the state.

What Type of Alligator Can You Find in Texas?

In Texas, you’ll only be able to find the American alligator. This is a semi-aquatic creature, which means it can survive in both the water and on land. It’s a relative of the crocodile, but with a larger frame.

The first thing you notice when you see American alligators is their dark scales. They have black outer skin, prominent eyes, and protruding nostrils.

Upon closer inspection, you’ll find that there are coarse scales all the way down the length of the animals. This provides them with protection from predators and the elements.

To help the gators move around, their front legs have five toes while the hind ones have four. That allows the animals to propel themselves at great speeds on land. On top of that, they have webbed feet to help with swimming.

Young American Alligator Alligator Mississippiensis - Texas View

American Alligator Behavior

Even though people think alligators are vicious creatures, that’s not always the case. For the most part, these animals like to spend their time floating in the water. They glide through lakes and ponds with only their eyes and nostrils sticking out.

While they do this, the alligators tend to be quite calm and relaxed. They’ll only attack when hunting or protecting their territory. In fact, these creatures will try to avoid humans if they can.

When they do come across people, they’ll do their best to scare them off without engaging. To do that they can:

  • Bark
  • Hiss
  • Bellow
  • Grunt

These are ways for the alligators to announce their presence. Although, they can use the sounds to communicate with one another and other animals in the area.

American Alligator Eating Habits

As most of us know, gators are strict carnivores, which means they only eat meat. That includes small mammals, waterbirds, and crustaceans. They can also hunt other reptiles like lizards and even other alligators.

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Unfortunately, that means that humans could possibly be on the menu, but that’s not likely. As we mentioned, gators like to steer clear of humans when they can. So, attacks are quite rare in Texas.

Three Alligators - Texas View

Are Alligators in Texas Endangered?

Alligators are fierce hunters that can pose a great threat to human settlements. On top of that, their people used their skin to make purses, shoes, and other accessories. So, by the middle of the 20th century, we had hunted down most of the alligator population in Texas.

That’s why the federal government issued a law stating that these animals were now a protected species. This means that no one can hunt down alligators without a permit and special permission.

As time went on, the alligator population in Texas grew out of the endangered status. However, it’s still illegal to hunt down these creatures to this day.

Alligator entering water - Texas View

How to Handle an Alligator Sighting in Texas?

When you see an alligator in the wild, there are a few things you have to keep in mind. Your response will depend on the season and the animal’s behavior.

Alligators are dormant for most of the year, but they become active around summer and spring. This is the time when they head out to find mates and build their nests.

During this period, alligators are particularly territorial. They’ll bark and growl to make sure they keep any prying eyes away from their young. On top of that, they may even pounce if you get too close.

So, when you see gators in the spring, the best course of action is to back away slowly. They can misunderstand any sudden movements as an attack and retaliate.

Throughout the rest of the year, the alligators will retreat. Chances are, as soon as they spot a human, they’ll quickly change course and swim away.

Alligator with his mouth open - Texas View

Alligators in Texas FAQs

Is It Safe to Approach an Alligator in Texas?

Even though alligators shy away from humans, they’re still incredibly dangerous. That’s why it’s never a good idea to approach these animals. If they feel threatened at any point, they’ll attack.

As a general rule, you want to always stay at least 30 feet away from gators. If you plan on taking pictures, make sure to turn the camera flash off. The bright light may trigger the animals to go on the offensive.

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Who Do I Contact to Handle Alligators in Texas?

When an alligator gets too close to a human settlement, you have to call in a professional. In Texas, you can contact the Nuisance Alligator Hotline to help you get rid of the animal safely.


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Christian Linden Texas View Headshot 3 - Texas View
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Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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