Are There Alligators In North Carolina? Here's The Truth About Gators!

Christian Mba
Oct 06, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Oct 14, 2021
Large menacing American alligator Alligator.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.1 Min

Alligators are massive reptiles belonging to the Crocodylia order that can weigh up to 1,000 lb (453.6 kg).

The two surviving species of alligators and numerous crocodile species found across the world are closely related, and people sometimes mistake the two. Alligators, like crocodiles, are massive animals with powerful tails that they use for both swimming and defence.

Their eyes, ears, and nose are placed on top of their long head and protrude slightly above the water while the reptiles float at the surface. An alligator's jaws and teeth are different from those of a true crocodile.

Officials with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission urge against feeding any other wildlife in coastal waterways where alligators reside, including ducks, geese, fish, and turtles, to prevent accidentally feeding alligators. They are also more active throughout the summer, according to the Commission. Keeping them as pets is illegal in North Carolina.

If you enjoy reading this article, you might find it interesting to read these other Kidadl fun fact articles American alligator facts and are there bears in Ohio.

Are there alligators in the Outer Banks of North Carolina?

Alligators may be found in North Carolina, which is the farthest north that they can be found in the wild. A 3 ft (0.9 m) long alligator with a collar was seen wandering down a street in Brockton, Mass.

The American alligator, found in the southeastern US, may be found in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Alligators are timid animals who prefer to spend their time in the water of the Outer Banks.

In the summer, you might even see them sunning on a log! Because alligators are timid, you're unlikely to spot one in a residential area. A journey to Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, a 12,000-acre (48.6 sq km) refuge, is your best bet if you want to see an alligator.

North of the refuge, alligators can be found in several rivulets. The American alligator may be found from coastal North Carolina to southeastern Florida and west towards central Texas.

They live in freshwater regions primarily east of Robeson County and northward to Gates County, N.C. The coastal counties of Brunswick, New Hanover, Craven, Onslow, and Pender have the biggest populations.

Most people are unaware that the Outer Banks are home to a diverse range of animals. Although you can seldom see alligators in this part of North Carolina, a lucky visitor might catch sight of one floating beneath the surface of the brackish waters.

Are there saltwater alligators in North Carolina?

Alligators are generally freshwater creatures that can only withstand saline water for a limited period of time. However, at Northward Topsail Beach in North Carolina, alligators have previously swum in the Atlantic Ocean.

Alligators are mostly found in freshwater and do not dwell in saltwater. They are generally freshwater creatures that live in marshy regions, rivulets, streams, and ponds. Despite this, they can withstand saltwater for a few hours or even days.

Alligators have been observed wandering the streets of Wilmington, N.C. and taking a dip in neighborhood retention ponds in the Outer Banks. At Orton Pond in Brunswick County, many hundreds have been counted.

In July this year, a 12-ft (3.6 m) alligator was observed surfing the waves near the Ocean Crest Pier on Oak Island. Another one was discovered swimming around in Carolina's High Rock Lake the following day.

American Alligator Swimming in water.

Is it safe to swim in North Carolina lakes?

North Carolina State Parks provide a diverse range of swimming opportunities, from spring-fed rivulets to lakes, and open ocean swims to pool diving. In North Carolina, American alligators may be found in bays, rivulets, creeks, marshes, swamps, and ponds, with small populations scattered throughout the whole beach.

White Lake is North Carolina's cleanest water reservoir. The first water reservoir created in the Appalachians was Toxaway, which is 3 mi (4.8 km) long, 1 mi (1.6 km) broad, and has 14 mi (22.5 km) outer banks.

Toxaway is the only water reservoir in the area that property owners and their visitors may use for swimming, boating, waterskiing, sailing, and fishing.

For a long time, the species had never been found in Lake Norman or the Catawba River. Reports of alligators in the Norman water reservoir began to appear in late the 2000s.

A video of a 5.6 ft (1.7 m) alligator in Lake Norman was presented to the local news later that year. There, two different alligators could be observed.

As you go northward from the Outer Banks of Carolina, alligators become less prevalent.

What dangerous animals are in North Carolina?

With its diverse scenery, temperature, and mountains from coast to coast, North Carolina is home to a wide range of animals. There's a lot of unforeseen danger beyond the rough surf, soft slopes, and gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains.

An alligator is a quiet danger to be dreaded in the eastern part of the state. Here, they may be found in canals, streams, and rivers.

The timber rattlesnake, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, and pygmy rattlesnake are the three rattlesnake species found in the state. Except for the pygmy, which is only found in southern parts of the state, the others can be found across the state.

Off of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, there are many shark species. Sharks will occasionally venture into estuaries, although this is usually just to eat or migrate.

Copperheads may be found all across North Carolina. This poisonous snake loves to live in wooded regions with rocks or a stream nearby.

Black bears are a little friendlier than brown bears and typically like to live in a big, deserted forested area. Black bears can be found in the mountains of western North Carolina and the coastal swamplands of eastern North Carolina.

Cottonmouths (a type of snake) are mostly found in marshes, rivers, and other bodies of water in the state's eastern area. Black widows may be found all across the state, but especially in the eastern part.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for are there alligators in North Carolina?

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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