Are There Alligators in California?

No, there are no natural or native alligators in California. Alligators are in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and other states in the south, but not California.

Although there have been sightings of alligators in California, these alligators may have gotten loose or were released by pet owners.

Are There Alligators in California

Are there crocodiles in California?

No, there are no crocodiles in California. There is only one kind of crocodile in the United States, which is the American Crocodile. The American Crocodile lives with some alligators in the Florida Everglades.

Some people are confused because of the news of a crocodile in California. For a long time, crocodiles, like the alligators, are not native to California. However, there was the discovery of a new species of a crocodile in California called Crocodilusminusculus or the California Crocodile.

This news came about in 2005 when people found a crocodilecarcass. Here is the problem: the California in this news article is not the California of the United States of America.

Instead, it is Baja California, the 12thlargest state in Mexico in terms of land area. This area has a lot of forests, deserts, and beaches. The people who found the crocodile saw the carcass at the beach.

The recognition of the Crocodilusminusculusas a species is debatable. There is no scientific paper about it. Only news organizations dubbed this crocodile as such.

Related Article: Are There Alligators in Missouri?

Are there alligators in Los Angeles?

No, there are no alligators in Los Angeles. However, there have been sightings of gators in the past. These gators did not get to Los Angeles by natural means. They were pets released by their owners.

Sometime in 2015, people found two alligators in San Fernando Valley. It sparked some attention, and people thought that the gators were coming.

Animal control officers, on the other hand, say otherwise. In one of their routine tasks, these officers found an 8-foot-long alligator that had been kept as a pet in a backyard. This gator has been there for 40 years.

The authorities seized the gator and moved it to the Los Angeles Zoo, where it was quarantined. According to the officers, this gator was purchased about 37 years ago in a pet shop.

The issue with gators and crocodiles in California is that these are illegal. While the government has issued permits for the ownership of gators, these permits are only for filming and for zoos, not for people to keep the wild animals as pets.

Related Article: Are There Alligators in the Mississippi River?

Could alligators live in California: Why or Why Not?

Yes, alligators can survive in California. The weather is ideal for the gators, and there are many bodies of fresh water in the state.

It snows in California, but it does not get as cold as it does in New York. On the south side of the state, snowfall happens rarely. If it does snow, the amount of snowfall is negligible.

So, how will the alligators survive? For one, there are more than 3,000 lakes and reservoirs in the state. Below are the biggest ones:

  • Mono Lake
  • Goose Lake
  • Honey Lake
  • Lake Tahoe
  • Salton Sea

All these lakes are teeming with wildlife, and there is no reason for a crocodile or alligator not to survive. In addition, there is plentiful food in the state.

In addition to this, there are 100 rivers in the state. What this means is that alligators have plenty of options where to build a home in the state.

Related Article: Are There Alligators in Arizona?

Are there alligators in zoos in California?

Yes, there are alligators in zoos in California. Different zoos keep different types of alligators and other crocodilians. Below are some details.

San Diego Zoo

This zoo keeps some Chinese alligators. These gators are not native to the US but in China, their namesake. The Chinese alligator is an endangered species, but conservation efforts today are strong.

Oakland Zoo

The Oakland Zoo keeps American alligators. One attraction here is an alligator named Ash, which they market as the alligator birthday treat.

One of the best things people can do in the zoo is to view the alligators underwater. The people will not be underwater. Instead, they are underground and would view the gators from glass walls.

A caretaker also demonstrates feeding, and viewers can easily see and marvel at the two gators in their pond.

Los Angeles Zoo

There are American alligators in the Los Angeles Zoo, too. The alligator here is named Reggie, and he is inside an enclosure equipped with everything he needs.

There is a pond, and the zookeeper waddles a stick to stir him up. There is also a feeding session for people to see. Reggie is not yet a big gator, but he surely will grow into a monster-sized reptile one day. Reggie is not the only gator in the zoo.

One last zoo that is worth mentioning is Happy Hollow Park and Zoo. It is a 16-acre zoo that also has an amusement park. They have American alligators in the exhibit.

Are there alligators in Tulare Lake or the Sacramento River?

No, there are no alligators and crocodiles in both of these bodies of water. The Tulare Lake, despite being the biggest, is almost dry.

There are still wetlands in the lake, but there are no alligators here, and it is not a conducive place for crocodilians to live. People used the lake as an agricultural irrigation system in the past, and it is why the lake has dried up.

Meanwhile, there was a sighting of a 4-foot alligator in the Sacramento River. However, it is not a native alligator. The speculation of authorities is that the gator just got too big for the owner to handle.


Alligators and crocodiles are not native to California. There are no alligators and crocodiles in California except in zoos and in the homes of people who keep them illegally as pets. One might read an article about the California Crocodile, but this species is new, and there is no official word about it from the scientific community. In addition, this crocodile was not found in the US but Baja, California, in Mexico.

Skip to content