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Are There Alligators in Missouri?

Sometimes, there are alligators spotted in the state. However, Missouri is not a native home to alligators. If anything, the appearances are rather random.

The suspicion of authorities is that these sightings are not natural. They said that the alligators could have been probable pets that grew too big for the owners to handle. Then, these owners released their alligator pets into bodies of water.

Are There Alligators in Missouri

Are there crocodiles in Missouri?

No, there are no crocodiles in Missouri. The only native crocodile in the United States is the American Crocodile, and it is only found in Florida—in the US, but there are American crocodiles in other countries.

The American crocodile is one of the largest species of crocs. It is also common in the Americas, and one can see this crocodile in the Neotropics.

What the American crocodile wants is salty water or brackish water. As such, it lives in coastal areas. Sometimes, this crocodile may look for prey in freshwater systems like rivers. However, it prefers to stay in waters with high salinity.

As far as prehistoric times go, no alligator or crocodile fossils were ever found in the state. There were, however, some dinosaur fossils found in the state. This specific dinosaur is the Parrosaurusmissouriensis.

It took a total of four years to dig up the remains of this dinosaur. The area is not disclosed. The first dinosaurs even unearthed in Missouri were discovered in the 1940s.

The discovery of these fossils happened by accident. A family was digging a well and found that fossil. Today, there were other fossils found in the same area, not more than 50 feet away from the first ones.

Since dinosaurs and crocodiles, and gators share the same ancestor, it is possible that there are prehistoric gator fossils here, just waiting to be found.

Related Article: Are There Alligators in Arizona?

Are there alligators in Kansas City?

No, there are no alligators in Kansas City unless one meets a person who keeps them as a pet. There are also zoos that may keep alligators.

Could alligators live in Missouri: why or why not?

Yes, alligators can survive in Missouri. There are dozens of rivers in the area, and there are lakes, too. There are five main river basins in the state, and they are big enough to sustain alligator life and population.

Alligators need the following things to survive:

  • Fresh body of water
  • Food
  • Sunlight

Missouri has many lakes and rivers, not to mention the eight types of wetlands in the state. There are swamps, forested wetlands, marshes in Missouri, and so much more.

As far as habitat condition is concerned, alligators do not have a problem. Because these areas have water, life is also teeming. Gators are carnivores that would eat anything—from fish to frogs—there is an extensive menu for them in the state.

Although it snows in Missouri, the climate is still ideal for alligators. Some alligators can keep themselves underwater in somestates while the surface of the lakes is frozen.

Related Article: Are There Alligators in the Mississippi River?

Are there alligators in zoos in Missouri?

Yes, there are alligators in zoos in Missouri. Below are some of the zoos in the state where one can find an alligator.

1. Saint Louis Zoo

There are two species of alligators in the St. Louis Zoo—the American and the Chinese alligator. The Chinese alligator is an endangered species, but global efforts are underway to bring them back to a healthy number, especially in China.

The Chinese alligator is native to China only. It is smaller than the American alligator, and it can only grow up to two meters. The American alligator, on the other hand, can grow up to two times the size of the Chinese gator.

There are other crocodilians in the zoo, and these are the Dwarf Caiman and Malayan Gharial. Caimans are a sub-species of the alligator, as they belong to the family of Alligatoridae. However, only the alligator is the “true” alligator.

The Malayan Gharial is a false gharial. Some people call it the Sundal gharial or Tomistoma. It belongs to the Gavialidae family. It is not a gator nor a croc, but a different crocodilian species.

Related Article: Are There Alligators in Australia?

2. Kansas City Zoo

There is an American alligator in Kansas City Zoo. The operators of the zoo opened a new gator exhibit in 2022. They call it the Alligator Alley, and there are five American alligators there now.

All these alligators are females, and their names are:

  • Agnes
  • Gertrude
  • Rita
  • Eudora
  • Lucy

The location of these gators in the zoo is close to the Discovery Barn and Billy Goats Gruff Yard. The enclosure has both an indoor component and an outdoor area.

The gators can rest indoors and bask under the sun whenever they like. There is also a glass fence for the visitors.

3. Lazy L Safari Park

Lazy L is a walk-thru zoo. One can find it in Cape Girardeau, and there are alligators here. What makes the park different from other zoos is that they offer close and personal encounters. There are over 40 different species of exotic animals in the zoo. 

Are there alligators in the Missouri River or Lake Oahe?

No, there are no alligators in the biggest lake or river in Missouri. Alligators do not live in the state, as Missouri is already too far inland.

However, this is not to say that alligators will not find their way here. Alligators can travel long distances, and some of them get washed up due to flooding. It is not a wild thing to think that alligators will find the state one day and decide to stay.


There are no alligators in Missouri except for escaped or released pets. There are also alligators in zoos, but the gator is not native to the state. If the time comes, it is possible for alligators to settle in the state. There are many river and lake systems in Missouri, some of which connect to the Mississippi basins. What it means is that alligators can thrive here and find a new home.

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