There are plenty of alligators around the Mississippi Coast as the population has increased from near extinction back in the early 1960s. The state of Mississippi is currently estimated to have 32,000 to 39,000 American Alligators. Mississippi has many of the largest gators in the region, compared to neighboring states; this is due to the laws restricting hunting. Thanks to regulations and restrictions protecting the reptiles the population has grown, and remains healthy.
Where are the most alligators found?
Well, if you are looking to see them in Mississippi, Jackson County with the vast natural wetlands has the most, with an estimated 7,500, or 24 percent of the state’s population.
Hancock County comes in a distant second, with just under 4,000 gators living in its waters. This data comes from Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fishery.
How do scientists count an animal that lives in the wild, and in the water? Alligator eyes are like cat eyes, they reflect light. So, brave teams venture out at night through the swamps with lamps and count the reflecting eyes in the darkness.
It is important to note, gators are generally not a danger to humans. These reptiles have a natural weariness of people.
Fun gator facts;
*Alligators are the most vocal reptiles, using their calls to find mates, threaten others and claim territory.
*An alligator’s sex is determined by the temperature of their environment. Hotter temperatures will develop into males, that is around 93 degrees Fahrenheit. While females are born from temperatures lower than 86 degrees.
*An important point to coexisting with alligators is not to feed them. Feeding wild animals takes away their fear of humans. Not only is it dangerous to feed wild alligators in Mississippi, it is illegal.
*For anyone seeking to find alligators, there are designated places to visit that offer easy and safe viewing.
Davis Bayou in Ocean Springs offers alligator viewing stations. This area of the National Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore, is free and open from sunrise to sunset to visitors. Currently, there is construction at the main entrance, but Davis Bayou National Park and Visitor Center are open daily. It is a very natural setting, so gators come and go depending on the season, but if the gators are out you can get a great up-close look at them.
Gulf Coast Gator Ranch & Tours is the perfect place to enjoy the excitement of large and small alligators. A swamp boat ride takes you into the gators world. Experience the high-speed airboats and view the raw untamed wilderness of Mississippi swamps. This is a safe way to experience gators and explore their habit. Families and tourists are encouraged to visit, the Gulf Coast Ranch & Tours is open 7 days a week; located 10300 Route 90, Moss Point.
Now that you know where to find them, go explore Mississippi and find yourself a gator!