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Sightings of Alligators in Tennessee Are Becoming More Common

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Sightings of Alligators in Tennessee Are Becoming More Common

Posted 2024-05-21  by  Stephanie Mallory

The reptiles are moving north due to loss of habitat

As alligators make their way north from the Deep South, more and more of the reptiles are being spotted in Tennessee.

“It crossing the road is kind of what you would see in Florida but you are seeing it in Tennessee,” Amy Spencer with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said.

According to, an alligator grabbed the attention of a number of people on Monday, May 6, after it was spotted on Boothe Road in northern Fayette County.

“To see an alligator in this part of the country would be a very small chance. This is an area that we don’t have a high population yet. I think Florida, Louisiana are the top two,” Spencer explained.

Spencer says the first documented alligator sighting in the state occurred in 2018.

“In West Tennessee, we have had several confirmed sightings since 2018; Shelby County, Fayette County, Hardin County — they are all in that area that we’ve seen alligators.”

Spencer says the recently spotted alligator looks to be a healthy 7- to 9-feet long.

“There’s currently 10 states that have alligators, and if you think of Mississippi, which has had a healthy population for years, they even have a hunting season. We are closest to Mississippi, that’s the logical association of where they came from, but Arkansas has alligators so we can get them from the south or the west,” she explained.

After video footage surfaced on social media of someone poking the alligator with a stick, deputies showed up to stand guard over the reptile.

“What we don’t want is an unprovoked attack, but when you start provoking it by poking it or getting close, that’s when people get bitten or injured,” Spencer said.

Due to urban sprawl and the loss of wetlands, alligators are looking for new territory.

“You are seeing the northern fringe of this, so don’t expect to go out and see one, but don’t be surprised if ‘hey, that’s an alligator; yeah it really is an alligator,'” laughed Spencer.

She explained that the alligators can survive the cold Tennessee winters.

“Basically, what they do is they put their snout just above the water so they have the air holes and they are breathing with everything froze all around it.”

If you spot an alligator in Tennessee, contact the TWRA as they are tracking sightings.

Alligators are protected in Tennessee, and any attempt to capture or kill them is a violation of the law.

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