8. Where to See Alligators

Submerged Alligator

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Guillaume Capron.

One of the best places to spot an alligator is on a Florida Everglades airboat tour, which puts you right in the middle of an alligator’s natural habitat. American alligators are mostly found in the Southeastern United States. You can see them anywhere from Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and North Carolina all the way south to the Everglades National Park in Florida. You can also find them as far west as the southern tip of Texas.

This is the eighth of 12 Things You Should Know about Alligators and Everglades Wildlife, a free eBook.

Alligators love to hang out in fresh, warm water. This means swamps, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes are all potentially good spots. While they prefer freshwater, alligators may sometimes be found in more brackish water, which is a combination of saltwater and freshwater.

One study of alligators in North Central Florida found that males preferred open lake water during the spring, while females used both swampy and open water areas. During summer, males still preferred open water while females stuck to the swamps to construct their nests and lay their eggs. All alligators like to find refuge underneath banks or clumps of trees during the winter.

Look Out for Gator Holes

In flat areas such as the Everglades, alligators will often modify their wetland habitat by building small ponds known as “gator holes.” This increases the growth of various wetland plants and also provides a habitat for other aquatic species during periods of drought.