Rarely, you will find a more alligator-infested state than Mississippi. This is a thing to be excited about as well as to be cautious about. The state is famously known for and named after the Mississippi River that originates from it. You know, it is the second longest river and is part of the second largest drainage system next to only Hudson Bay.
Now, with such a vast water source in the state, it is indeed expected to find a range of wildlife and marine life home to the river. Not only that, but the state also has other natural habitats like grasslands and wetlands. No wonder, the state also hosts alligators among its diverse species. Below I’ve explained everything you need to know about their presence in Mississippi.
Are There Alligators in Mississippi?
Oh yes, Mississippi is home to a well-established population of alligators, specifically the American alligators. The only other species of alligator currently existing in the world is the Chinese alligator and yes, you guessed it right, it inhabits only China.
Although you can find alligators all over the state, the best place to find them is the southern two-thirds part of the state. Unlike their cousin crocodiles, these creatures are abundant across the state and their lifespan of 35 to 50 years also stabilizes their presence across the country.
How Many Alligators in Mississippi?
The alligator population of Mississippi is monitored, regulated, and conserved by the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Park. As per the agency’s survey, there are about 32,000 to 38,000 alligators inhabiting the 408,000 acres of land and water probably suitable for alligator habitat.
Most of these alligators live in the southeast part of the state including Jackson County. This is quite expected as the county is home to beaches and has the best temperate warm weather for alligator survival.
Where Are Alligators In Mississippi?
As we have already established, alligators can be found everywhere in Mississippi’s lakes, rivers, and marshes. Sometimes, you can also see them coming out of sea waves on beaches.
Not quite a sight like those models but terrifying, we’ll say that. Jokes aside, these creatures are one of the largest animals in the state and occupy the top of the food chain.
Typically found in freshwater sources, most of the Mississippi’s alligator population lives in the southeast parts of the state, with Jackson County having the densest population of 7,500.
In addition to the Mississippi River, a large number of alligators also exist in the Pascagoula River, Ross Barnett Reservoir, and the Mississippi Delta region consisting of the Yazoo River, Big Sunflower River, and various oxbow lakes.
Also, Check Our Guide On Alligators In the US
Best Place to See Alligators in Mississippi?
Want to see alligators in Mississippi? Don’t worry we have got you covered. Although most alligators live near river basins of the state, including the Pascagoula River these areas are mostly too crowded with visitors, and the large area accompanied can be daunting to explore.
So, you could also just visit the lakes of the state that have been inhabiting several alligators for years.
The two most alligator-infested lakes are the Okatibbee Lake and the Grenada Lake. In addition to this, as per a 2023 public survey, Cypress Swamp in Canton was voted as the best place to see alligators in Mississippi.
Remember, you will spot these creatures if you know where to look.
How Common Are Alligators In Mississippi?
Like many animals, alligators are more common in some parts of the state than the rest. The southeast part of the state inhabits most of the state’s alligator population due to the abundant suitable landscapes present. But having said that, the northern counties of the state don’t inhabit many alligators’ populations and it will be rare to spot them even if you visit the freshwater sources.
But if you do find one, it most probably has migrated from the southeast parts of the state. Alligators’ presence both on land and water helps them migrate to many places with most other land-based, and water-based animals wouldn’t be able to cover.
How Big Are Mississippi Alligators?
Mississippi alligators are as big as the American alligators. Weighing from 400 to 900 pounds on average, these reptiles are massive and hence shouldn’t be taken lightly. Their long body about 8 to 13 feet helps them immensely to swim in water but their gait is not very smooth in land due to their small limbs.
Additionally, adult male is larger than the adult female which is something commonly observed even in mammals. But this doesn’t make adult females much less dangerous. In fact, it is the female ones that we need to be careful with due to their overprotective nature towards the younger alligators.
Can You Hunt Alligators in Mississippi?
Yes, due to the large population of alligators in the state, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks organizes alligator hunting in the state. This is generally conducted in the month of September between the 10th and 30th of the month. Many residents participate and alligator hunting is in fact one of the most common activities that they take part in.
In order to participate, residents need to get a license for alligator hunting by applying on the official website. The winners are there chosen through a lottery. Additionally, the department also provides alligator hunting training.
As per the hunting regulations, permit or license owners can harvest only 2 alligators over 4 feet long and only one alligator above 7 feet. Additionally, note, that you cannot cross state borders while trying to hunt alligators as this is illegal and you may be fined with criminal charges and a hefty penalty. Happy and safe hunting.
Also Check Our Guide On Alligators In Hilton Head Island
Can You Own An Alligator In Mississippi?
No, it is illegal to own or possess alligators in Mississippi as they are protected by state laws. However, exceptions include cases where alligators are needed for research, education, and rehabilitation purposes. Only under this circumstance does the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Park Department issue alligator possession licenses to individuals or groups.
And that was everything you need to know about the Alligators In Mississippi. I hope this article answered all your queries.
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Founder Of This Website
I’m a passionate animal lover and researcher, I’ve created this website so that people can learn about the size and characteristics of different animal species. My goal is to educate and inspire people to appreciate the diversity of our planet’s wildlife.