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Thread: Northernmost extent of the American Alligator

  1. #1

    Northernmost extent of the American Alligator

    While looking at prospective places to live, other than Maryland (there is somewhat of an exodus right now), I've found out that alligators come pretty far up, almost into Virginia!

    Does anybody have experience living around these giant lizards? How big of a concern are they? How far down into brackish water do they go? I'm guessing it's best for my little dogs to stay away from the waters edge. I'm looking at NC coastal areas below the outer banks. ("the inner banks")

    It seems like wherever you go, there is always some thing or some body that wants to take a bite out of your buttocks.
    Last edited by Stephen Cherry; 04-12-2013 at 5:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Austin, TX
    Stephen, I was actually a biology student in school and herpetology (reptiles & amphibians) were my area of expertise. I have seen hundreds of American Alligators in the wild and my mother-in-law lives on a rural lake in east Texas, where there are gators and where we take our dog swimming. Here is how I would answer your questions:

    1.) No gators in brackish water. Only crocs, and they are in one specific locale in southern Florida.
    2.) Canids, for whatever reason, trigger a strong feeding response in all crocodilians. Both crocs and gators. Dogs must be instinctually "on the menu". I watched about an 8' gator swim towards us from a quarter-mile away, because our dog was splashing around in the water and barking. I pulled him out of the water but the gator parked himself about fifteen feet off the shore and waited there until after sunset.
    3.) I am not personally familiar with the Outer banks but it might be worth asking local fishing guides what their thoughts are. They would have the most exposure, if there are gators in the area.

    All this being said, gators are relatively inoffensive, especially if you do not feed them (like any wild animal). Don't be worried, just be "aware". Only a really huge gator (and those are very rare at the extremes of their range) would pose any kind of threat. When we visit mom's lakehouse, for example, our dog is only allowed in the water during fall or winter (gators hibernate from fall through spring...). Good luck with it.

    Erik Loza
    Minimax USA
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Mid Michigan
    Watch the Gator Boys when their season starts up again. It will give you a better perspective as to the risk/reward of living around gators.
    David B

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Pleasant Grove, UT
    Everybody knows that the northernmost extent of the American Alligator is the sewers of NYC!
    It came to pass...
    "Curiosity is the ultimate power tool." - Roy Underhill
    The road IS the destination.

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