Are There Alligators in Wisconsin?

There are no alligators in Wisconsin. Although the area is perfect for alligators to live because of the lakes and freshwater bodies, the harsh cold weather makes it difficult for them to survive in the state.

Some reports show that, on average, at least one alligator is found in Wisconsin. The reasons are not particularly clear, but it could be that some people may have taken in alligators as pets.There are glimpses of alligators seen in lakes in Wisconsin, yet again, the reasons are vague.

Are There Alligators in Wisconsin

Are there crocodiles in Wisconsin?

Crocodiles are mostly found in the South Florida area, including some other places as well. These places are far away from Wisconsin, which means that crocodiles do not live in Wisconsin.

People may not even keep crocodiles as pets in Wisconsin since they are far more aggressive creatures compared to alligators.

Wisconsin allows the residents to keep any animal they want as a pet, including alligators. One must need the Wisconsin wildlife law license to keep wild animals in the state.

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Are there alligators in Madison?

No, there are no alligators that are native to Madison, WI. However, there have been incidents where an alligator was seen in Madison.

Some photographs of one such incident show a woman in a wagon who was attacked by an alligator. Two men circle the alligator pointing a gun at it as the gator is stuffed and upheld against the wagon side.This incident occurred in Madison near a stone wall and gate.

Some people keep alligators as pets, but when they grow in size, they release them into the wild. The gators then lose their path and roam into the streets or other living areas in search of food.

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Could alligators live in Wisconsin: why or why not?

Alligators tend to live in freshwaters and swamps, lakes, rivers, and marshy areas. Wisconsin is a place with topography that includes water bodies such as rivers, lakes, marshes, swamps, etc.

When considering the area, it can be said that alligators can live in such habitats.However, alligators are cold-blooded animals; they can adjust their bodies to survive in cold weather for a short time.

Wisconsin has long, harsh winters and short hot summers. The gators are not likely to survive in extremely cold weather during the long winters.

Therefore, no matter how much the area is preferable for alligators to live in for summertime, the cold, harsh winters are a great setback for them to survive in Wisconsin.

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Are there alligators in zoos in Wisconsin?

There are alligators present in some specific zoon in Wisconsin. Following are some of them.

Doc’s Zoo

The 28-acre zoo area comprises several animal species, including several alligators.

Once, an old arthritic alligator escaped from the Doc’s Zoo while the owner “Steve Doc Hopkins” was feeding his other four alligators.

The gator who escaped from the zoo was called “Rex.” Rex stayed in the zoo for almost 35 years, and the owner was very saddened by the news as well.After a three-day breakout, Rex finally came back.

Some other animals that one may find here include:

  • Kangaroo mom Ruby and her baby Rosie
  • African Crested Porcupine
  • Sephora, The Bactrian camel
  • Alpacas, namely Fred and Welma

Henry Vilas Zoo

The Henry Vilas Zoo is in Madison and spreads out about 28 acres.There are American alligators here in the Henry Vilas Zoo. They feed on turtles, fish, snakes, and other small mammals.

The temperature is kept moderate for the American alligators to survive. Even the habitat is appropriate to provide fresh water feels to the alligator.

Henry Vilas Zoo has burrows to provide shelters to the alligators so they can survive in the extreme cold weather in Wisconsin.

Some other species that one may find here include:

  • Sloths
  • Reticulates Giraffe
  • Penguins
  • Western Fox Snake
  • Ball Python
  • Emerald Tree Boa

Are there alligators in Lake Michigan-Huron or the Wisconsin River?

No, there are no alligators in rivers or lakes in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has several lakes, including the famous Lake Michigan-Huron and others.

Still, there are no native alligators that live in those lakes.There are rare times when alligators are found in lakes. It’s difficult for them to survive in these lakes and rivers for too long because the water is usually too cool for them.

Once, an alligator was found in Lake Michigan, slowly swimming in the lake. There is footage of the alligator in the lake. However, after someone reported it to Larsen Marine Service, Inc., the alligator successfully got captured.

It was then transported to the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest.An alligator was seen in other lakes such as Long Lake, and Wisconsin Lake. One was about 18 and 24 inches long, and the other alligator was quite small.

The gators were rescued by the Aquatic Animal Rescue, and the team is now taking special care of the gators.

In 2017, Ed Long was hunting for sea animals in the Wisconsin River when he thought he had shot a snapping turtle, but it turned out to be a 4-foot-long alligator. Although he wanted to hunt the ducks, he was just as surprised to see an alligator in Wisconsin as his other partner.

The alligator, however, died due to the shot in the head. It remains a mystery how the alligator got into the river.


There are no native alligators that belong to Wisconsin state. The atmosphere is not suitable for the gators to survive for long in the cold weather.

However, some people may keep alligators at home as pets, and one may find American alligators in the Wisconsin zoos such as the Doc’s Zoo and the Henry Vilas Zoo. The zoos have special habitats for these predators to keep them safe from the cold weather. There have been rare instances where an alligator was found in the rivers or lakes in Wisconsin. Some were already dead, close to dying, got killed, or rescued. The cold water is too harsh for them to survive, so they would eventually die because of it.

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