Are There Alligators in Arizona?

No, there are no alligators in Arizona. The state is too far from alligator haven, which is Florida. Although Arizona is a desert, it is possible for gators to survive here. It is only a matter of the gators finding the state.

There was once a gator in Arizona that caught the attention of people. Some thought that it was a hoax. However, further investigation shed some truth to it. The gator was a pet that the owner released in the wild. It managed to survive.

Are There Alligators in Arizona

Are there alligators in Phoenix, Arizona?

No, there are no alligators in Phoenix, Arizona. There are no alligators in the entire state, with the exception of those in zoos or in homes of pet owners.

It is possible to spot an alligator in Salt River—a river that crosses Phoenix—but only if an owner released a pet gator in the wild. But then, this is a rare occurrence.

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Could alligators live in Arizona: why/why not?

Yes, alligators can live in the state of Arizona. Although it is a desert and it is hot, there are several lakes and rivers here that can sustain gators.

Alligators are versatile animals. They can live in hot places and cold places. However, they cannot live in places where the cold is extreme like Antarctica.

There are even gators that can survive under a frozen lake. In Oklahoma, it is not unusual to see alligators poking their heads above icy water. As the surface is frozen, the gators stick their noses out so they can breathe.

By doing this, the rest of their bodies are underwater. They can survive until the lake’s, or river’s surface is liquid again. During this time, the alligators conserve energy.

Dry places like Arizona are not a problem for alligators for as long as they are along a freshwater body. Alligators only need rivers and lakes to survive, provided that there is abundant wildlife in the area.

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Are there alligators in zoos in Arizona?

Yes, there are alligators in zoos in Arizona, but only in select ones. Below are some of the zoos where one can find alligators.

Phoenix Zoo

Phoenix Zoo is one of the biggest zoos in the state. There is one alligator here named Brutus, and he is huge.

Three times a week, Brutus gets some kind of training in the morning. The zookeepers train Brutus to get along well with the other alligators. The training prevents Brutus, the largest, from becoming hostile and aggressive towards the others.

The training also aims to make Brutus more accustomed to the zookeepers. In addition to this, the training makes it possible for the alligator to come on land. From here, the alligator will receive medical treatment if needed. 

Related Article: Are There Alligators in Africa?

Wildlife World

There are over 600 species of animals in this zoo. The place has two main attractions—the zoo and the aquarium. The alligator in this zoo is an albino, a rare reptile that also serves as one of the ambassadors of the zoo.

Here are some more animals that one can find here:

  • Insects
  • Iguana
  • Snakes
  • Lizards
  • Sea lions
  • Fish

The zoo also keeps a Nile crocodile and a Dwarf crocodile. These two species are not native to the United States but in Africa.

Reid Park Zoo

Reid Park Zoo has American Alligators. The alligators receive some exercises, and the zookeepers do this by throwing some cantaloupes at the gators.

Here are some more animals that one can see in the zoo:

  • African Wild Dog
  • Squirrel Monkey
  • Meerkat
  • Poison Dart Frog
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Grevy’s Zebra
  • Ring-Tailed Lemur
  • Giant Anteater
  • Chilean Flamingo
  • African Elephant
  • African Lion
  • Capybara

For a long time, there was no alligator at Reid Park Zoo.It took thirty years before the zoo decided to add an alligator to its exhibit.

It was only in 2018 when a new American Gator arrived.At that time, the gator was a 25-year-old male, which also came from another zoo, which is the Cameron Park Zoo in Texas.

Are there alligators in the Colorado River or Lake Powell?

No, there are no alligators in Arizona rivers and lakes. There was one incident where some fisherfolk found a gator nest in Lake Powell, but this was a part of the lake on the border of Utah and Arizona.

Gators can find their way in Arizona or Utah, even if it is too far away from Florida. However, since the American alligators are not concentrated in one state only, there are occasions when the alligators get washed up by floods.

Then, and again, alligator owners release them into the wild. What’s scary is if the washed-up or released gators are male and female. They can pair up and mate, resulting in more gators.

Although the alligator mortality rate is high at about 50%, there are still baby gators that can survive. Alligators typically lay 20 to 50 eggs. Even if only 20% of these eggs survive, at least ten alligators will reach maturity in ten to twelve years.

It is illegal to own an alligator in Arizona. It is also illegal to import and transport them, and the same goes for releasing them. In addition, wildlife is not a legal pet to own in the state, except for zoos.

Of course, one cannot expect all people to comply with the law. There will always be those who will keep alligators as pets in secret. Once these alligators get too big for the owners to handle, theywill likely release them into the wild.

No, they will not call the authorities. If they do this, they may go to jail, which is the last thing they want to happen.


There are no alligators in Arizona. There was one spotted many years back in 2005, and it was a pet released. Arizona is too far from the bailiwick of alligators, which is Florida.

Alligators may find their way to Arizona through the Colorado River, which crosses the state. While this is not likely to happen soon, it is still possible.

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