Are There Alligators in the Mississippi River?

Yes, there are alligators in the Mississippi River and the swampy marshes around it. The alligator was once an endangered species in the US, but it has now made a comeback. Today, there are about 30,000 of them in the state.

There was even a 727-pound gator caught in the Mississippi River back in 2017. During the alligator hunting season, a guy named Dustin Brockman caught the giant gator, and it was a record-breaker.

Are There Alligators in the Mississippi River

Are there crocodiles in Mississippi?

No, there are no crocodiles in Mississippi. In the US, the only two crocodilians are the American alligator and the American Crocodile.

The American Crocodile, or Crocodylusacutus, is one of the largest species of crocs in the world. It is a widespread species, and its ranges are the US and the Americas, such as Peru, Venezuela, etc.

The alligator is a bit distributed in the south of the US, but the crocodile only lives in Florida. Florida is the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators co-exist in the wild. Some zoos in Mississippi may display crocodiles, but the croc is not native or endemic to the state.

Time and time again, one would hear news of a crocodile found in rivers. These crocodiles, however, did not come to the state naturally. It is highly likely that they were exotic pets. When they grew in size, the owner got scared and decided to just dump them.

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Are there alligators in Jackson, Mississippi?

Yes, there are alligators in Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson is the largest city in the state by land area, and it may sound counter-intuitive that gators live in the city, but they do.

In Jackson, there are 57,000 acres of land inhabited by alligators. The estimate is that there are about 7,500 alligators in the entire county of Jackson. That makes it about 24% of the alligator population in the state and by far the largest.

The other counties that have the highest gator population are:

  • Hancock – about 3,900 gators or 12% of the state’s total gator population
  • Rankin– about 2,400 gators or 7.4% of the state’s total gator population

One interesting thing to note is that alligators in Mississippi seem to be larger than other gators in other states. For example, the average gator size in Mississippi is bigger than those found in Florida and Louisiana.

Nobody knows why this is happening, but it is very likely that the genetics of the gator population in Mississippi has something to do with it.

Because of this, the large gators in Mississippi are considered nuisance alligators. They have to be hunted down, or they can pose serious risks.

Based on observations, about 22% of the alligators found along Little Sunflower River were longer than 10 feet. Some are bigger than that.

It is not unusual that many alligators must be removed from dense populations in the state, especially if the gator has grown to more than ten feet long. 

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Could alligators live in Mississippi:why or why not?

Yes, they can, and they are already living there. Geographically, Mississippi is accessible to alligators as it is on the coast. 

In addition, there are many freshwater bodies in the state. The rivers alone shouldbe enough to sustain alligator populations.

Below are some of the longest rivers in the state:

  • Mississippi River
  • Tombigbee River
  • Tennessee River
  • Pearl River
  • Hatchie River
  • Chickasawhay River
  • Big Black River
  • Yazoo River

These rivers are home to a diverse range of animals. For one, the Mississippi River has more than 120 species of fish, making it an ideal habitat for the gators.

On top of that, the river is home to migrating birds and mammals. One can also find deer, coyotes, beavers, and muskrats that live along the riverbank.

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Are there alligators in zoos in Mississippi?

Yes, there are alligators in zoos in the state. However, one does not even have to go to the zoo to find alligators.

Alligators have a presence in all counties in Mississippi. If one takes the time to find them in rivers, marshes, ponds, swamps, and lakes, one is guaranteed to have an encounter. Of course, this is dangerous, so it is better to find zoos in the state with gators displayed and watch the alligators in action.

The Jackson Zoo

The Jackson Zoo is one of the biggest zoos in the state, and it has a diverse collection of animals. The only crocodilian they have here is the American alligator.

However, there are other reptiles that one must-see, such as:

  • Painted Turtle
  • Green Tree Frog
  • Eastern Box Turtle
  • Inland Bearded Dragon
  • River Cooter
  • Yellow-footed Tortoise
  • Gopher Tortoise
  • Leopard Tortoise
  • Common Slider
  • Common Musk Tortoise
  • African Fat-tailed Gecko
  • African Spurred Tortoise

The zoo also has a lot of mammals and avian creatures. The zoo closed before but has already reopened. It closed in September of 2019, but this closure was temporary only.

Hattiesburg Zoo

The Hattiesburg Zoo has an American Alligator and some other reptiles. However, its animal collection is not as diverse as the Jackson Zoo.

Here are some of the other animals on display:

  • Jaguar
  • Black-tailed prairie dog
  • Tunis sheep
  • White-nosed coatimundi
  • Giant anteater
  • California kingsnake
  • Red-tailed boa
  • Gopher tortoise
  • Box turtle
  • Green iguana
  • Crested duck
  • Turkey vulture
  • Barred owl
  • Axolotl
  • Golden eagle

One popular thing to do here is what they call the Sloth Experience. People can hang out with a sloth and take pictures. However, the sloths are nocturnal animals, so it is best to visit them at night.

So far, these are the two best zoos to visit in Mississippi.


There are alligators in the Mississippi River. As one of the longest rivers in the world, it is close enough to other river systems where gators thrive.

There are gators in many counties in the state, and it is noted that the average gator size in Mississippi is bigger than those found in Florida and Louisiana. Many gators in the state can grow to more than ten feet. If they do, they become nuisance gators and are either moved or hunted down.

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