Humans and Alligators have roamed the earth together for many centuries. They are one of the largest species to ever exist in the North American continent. Currently, only two species of alligator are found in the world and one of them lives in North America. Yes, there were more but were all eradicated in the past because of climatic changes, habitat loss, and hunting due to predation.
But are these creatures present in Texas?
Below I’ve explained everything you need to know about the alligator presence in Texas, their behavior, physical features, and regulations to hunt or own them.
Are There Alligators in Texas?
Yes, There are and in fact, alligators are native to Texas including other southeast states of the country. Scientifically termed A. mississippiensis, these creatures typically inhabit freshwater sources like lakes, rivers, including marshes and swamps.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department monitors and conserves the alligator population in Texas. Also, there is a specific program called the Alligator program that manages both the species population and also issues permits for activities dealing with alligators in the state.
How Many Alligators in Texas?
Did you know, there was a time in Texas when alligators were pushed to extinction and even occupied the endangered species list? Yes, In the early 1900s, alligators were depleted in many parts of the state due to loss of habitat and market hunting. Because of this, in 1967, alligators were listed as an endangered species. The Texas government then protected them throughout the state in 1969.
Due to its listing alligator control was now shared between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state wildlife agencies. It was due to their combined effort that the alligator population rebounded, especially in their historical range. Today, there are about 500,000 alligator individuals roaming the state.
Where Do Alligators Live in Texas?
Good swimmers as they are, alligators aren’t that good at moving on land. That’s why they need a habitat with the presence of water bodies and nearby land.
In Texas, you can find them in lakes, rivers, and swamps, especially in the eastern parts of the state. Most often than not, you could spot them in wetlands or along the Gulf coasts where the highest concentrations of alligators can be found living.
Compared to many of the states, alligators are present in half of the counties about 120 out of the existing 254. Although they are uncommon in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. We hope this information helps you when you decide to visit the state just to observe these magnificent creatures.
Also Check Our Guide On Alligators In US
Are Texas Alligators Aggressive?
Be it the Texas alligators or those from other states, alligators are wild creatures and typically behave aggressive traits when threatened or cornered. But most often they just altogether avoid human interactions and retreat when approached.
Therefore, when trying to observe them, exercise caution and respect their space. Additionally, to be on the safer side always maintain at least 30 feet from these creatures and never feed them. Maintain extreme caution when you do any activities near or in water bodies like swimming, boating, or fishing.
Do All Texas Lakes Have Alligators?
Not at all, Only those lakes in the southeastern and northern parts of the state inhabit American alligators. These include Lake Lewisville, Lake Worth, Eagle Mountain Lake, Grapevine Lake, and many more. Although they aren’t present in all the lakes, these creatures may sometime be spotted in lakes outside their range. This is due to the dispersion and migration to this state, but this is quite rare. So, no worries, they will not just one day come to your front door.
How Big Are Texas Alligators?
They are enormous to say the least. Never, I repeat never approach an alligator that too a large one in the wild. Although each alligator individual differ in size and no pair of them are same, their size range though can be established. Alligators in Texas weigh anywhere from 200 pounds to 800 pounds and sometimes even reach a massive 1000 pounds. They also measure in the range of 10 to 13 feet with few ones exceeding 13 feet too. Typically, male alligator is bigger than female and sometimes even double their size.
Can You Hunt Alligators in Texas?
Oh yes, You can hunt alligators in Texas. In fact, alligator hunting is one of the ways, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department controls the rapid increase of alligator population. The department has established a limited alligator hunting season which occurs typically in the month of September.
To participate in the season, interested individual must obtain a hunting license and a special alligator hunting permit which is issued by the state department through a lottery system.
It is important to note that, these permits are fixed for the season. To make yourself lucky do visit the official state department website to read through the rules and regulations and be ready if selected. All the best!
Can You Own Alligators in Texas?
Yes, You can own alligators in Texas provided you have the valid permits issued from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. To own these permits you need to obey the rules set by the department. These permits are issued by the department for specific purposes like exhibition, education, research, and commercial purposes.
Before you get the permit to own them, you also need to receive Alligator Farmer Permit each year which costs about $252 per year. But under no circumstances can you own alligators as a pet. In addition to incurring high maintenance costs, these creatures are also quite dangerous.
Also Check Our Guide On Alligators In California
Can You Feed Alligators in Texas?
Nope, It is strictly illegal to feed alligators. The Texas Parks and Wildlife department prohibits anyone and everyone from feeding these creatures for both the creature’s and human’s safety.
Feeding these creatures will not only change their natural pattern but also make them dependent on humans for food source. It will reach a point where alligators will associate food with humans which will increase many aggressive alligator encounters and attacks.
So, if you do observe them make sure to maintain distance and never feed them. Safe travels!
And that was everything you need to know about the Alligators in Texas. I hope this article answered all your queries.
Our Source For This Guide
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.