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Arkansas State

Gators in Arkansas?

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Gin Lee
Gin Lee
AlligatorVirginia Watkins

Gators in Arkansas?

Yes! Alligators do roam the ditches, marshlands, bayous, rivers, lakes, ponds, etc, in "The Natural State" and have been on planet earth for centuries. Facts are documented that alligators have roamed the earth since the dinosaur era. Were they in this area back then? Perhaps so. It's been said that gators have lived in Arkansas for thousands of years.

During the seventies and early eighties, the Arkansas game and fish commission brought in alligators from the state of Louisiana to help restore the population of the scary-looking beast. Even though there had always been gators in the state, they were being overhunted and were considered an endangered species, during the seventies.

Since then alligators have been sighted in the counties of Clark, Cleburne, Jackson, White, and Woodruff in Arkansas by numerous people during various occasions. Several years back a gator was captured just outside of Hickory Ridge, Arkansas across from Lewis Cemetery. People of the community say that the length of the gator stretched the entire width of Highway 259. Was that a one-time occurrence? Some people indicate that they believe where there is one, there probably are more. Although there have been no records proving otherwise.

Forty-five counties in Arkansas have been documented for having gators. Most of the northern part of Arkansas is alligator-free because alligators can't stand the colder temperatures in the winter season. Arkansas and Little River counties are two of the most common areas where alligators roam in "The Natural State."

In 2007 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service approved Arkansas alligator hunting. However, hunters must apply for a special permit each year by the Arkansas Game And Fish Commission. Those interested would need the Arkansas permit for the alligator hunt.

Alligators have two roles of pointed, sharp fang teeth, and they are known to have anywhere from seventy-eighty, however, they don't have molar teeth, so when eating their prey they just swallow its entirety. They survive by eating waterfowl, fish, turtles, snakes, opossums, raccoons, deer, etc. Normally, alligators don't prey on humans as depicted in horror movies. Although, it's best to still be cautious around them. It's been said that alligators are afraid of humans, and usually, they will not attack unless they feel threatened. Arkansas officials warn against humans feeding alligators not only because it's likely that the gators will stop being afraid, but also because it's illegal to feed alligators in "The Natural State."

Alligators normally stay hidden in wetlands, sometimes being mistaken for a downed tree. Because from a distance, their dark brown, bumpy, scaly skin resembles tree bark. From time to time, they may be seen basking in the sunshine.

Although there are alligators in Arkansas, their population here can not be compared to the overall population of gators found in Louisiana, and the "Sunshine State" (Florida). The population of gators in Louisiana is estimated to be over two million, and Florida has an estimated population of about 1.3 million sharp-fanged alligators. Whereas "The Natural State" is estimated to have thousands of alligators.

Exact alligator locations are not being divulged, since several of the areas are primarily on private property.

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