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The American alligator lives in some parts of the southeast United States.
In the past, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas were all in this range.
But do alligators live in Tennessee, which is close to Mississippi and borders Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas? Here, we’ll look closely at whether or not you can find alligators in “the Volunteer State.”
Is Tennessee a place where alligators live? A 7-foot-long alligator was found in the Wolf River in western Tennessee not too long ago.
This was just the most recent confirmed sighting of an alligator in the state. So, yes, you can find alligators in Tennessee.
Even though there are alligators in Tennessee, the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) thinks that there are only a few of them there.
This is because these large reptiles don’t live in Tennessee in the wild. So, why are there now alligators in Tennessee?
Alligators’ home ranges are naturally growing to include more states, like Tennessee. Part of the reason for this is global warming.
As the weather gets warmer in some parts of the country, alligators can now live there, where they couldn’t before.
Where in Tennessee have alligators been spotted?
In western Tennessee, alligators have been seen in more than one place.
For example, alligators have been seen in western cities like Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, and Bartlett, which are on the Wolf River.
How do alligators survive the cold winters in Tennessee?
The American alligator lives in swamps, lakes, and marshes, as well as slow-moving freshwater rivers. In these places, these animals depend on it being warm.
Alligators are most active when it is between 82 and 92 degrees outside.
Because it gets so warm in the south, alligators do well there.
But Tennessee has a climate that is more temperate than tropical, so how do the alligators that have made it to Tennessee stay alive there in the winter?
Alligators can stay alive in Tennessee by going into a state called “brumation,” which is like hibernation. In most parts of the country, alligators don’t have to deal with freezing temperatures.
When they do, they lift their snouts out of the water so they can still breathe. This is also called “icing” or “snorkeling” sometimes.
This is a unique form of hibernation because it is the exact opposite of what most crocodiles do when it gets cold.
Crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials are all members of the crocodilian family. When they get cold, they usually get out of the water and try to warm up in the sun.
But brumation is the best choice for alligators that have moved up north because if they leave the water on a cold day, they could freeze to death.
Have alligators moved north to any other states?
Alligators have not just been seen in Tennessee. They have also been seen in other states. Alligators have been seen in states that are even farther north than Tennessee, like New York, Connecticut, Michigan, and Illinois.
In all of these states, the alligators were small (about three to five feet long), and officials didn’t know how these reptiles got so far north.
During a heatwave in upstate New York, a baby alligator was found in a swimming pool. The local SPCA set up for the alligator to be moved to a nature preserve in the south.
Are there any other animals that are native to other states that are expanding their range to Tennessee?
Not only are alligators moving into the state of Tennessee, but so are a lot of other animals. Cougars are native to the western parts of the United States, such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
They have been seen in several places in central Tennessee over the past few years. Cougars used to live in the state, but they went extinct in the early 1900s. Now, it looks like they are making a comeback there.