American alligators are very common in the southern states in the U.S. Some of the most alligator-infested lakes exist in Florida and Louisiana. While you don’t want to purposefully swim next to an alligator, it’s an exciting experience seeing one in person. But can you find alligators in Alabama? Are there massive alligators in Lake Forest? Continue reading to discover if Lake Forest is home to Alabama’s most massive alligators.
About American Alligators
American alligators are large crocodilian reptiles in the southeastern United States. They are one of only two alligator species. The other alligator species is the Chinese alligator. Most adult male American alligators measure between 11.2 to 15.1 feet long and weigh up to 999 pounds. However, the largest alligator caught in the world reached 19.2 feet long. Although it was never weighed, experts believe it could have weighed above 2,000 pounds. These apex predators are not picky eaters. They slowly creep up on their prey, strike quickly, and swallow their prey without chewing.
Are There Alligators in Alabama?
There are many alligators in Alabama. Most of the American alligators in Alabama live in the southern half of the state touching Florida and Mississippi. There are about 70,000 alligators living in the state. For a short while, American alligators were on the endangered list, but Alabama enacted multiple laws to protect these massive reptiles in 1938. American alligators mainly live in swampy areas and freshwater ponds and lakes. Although they are more common in the southern half of the state, there have been some alligator sightings in western parts of Alabama, including the Sipsey river, which covers at least 7,155 acres of forest and swamplands.
Is Lake Forest Home to Alabama’s Most Massive Alligators?
Lake Forest is located in Daphne, Alabama. Despite its name, Lake Forest isn’t just a lake; it’s also a golf community. It has three outdoor pools, too. It’s been in operation since 1971. While visiting or living in Lake Forest, you can kayak and enjoy the lake. Although alligators aren’t common in Lake Forest, there was a scary incident involving a gator in October 2020.
Two women were kayaking in Lake Forest when an enormous alligator flipped one of the women, Michelle Hartley, out of her kayak and into the water. Michelle quickly swam to her friend’s kayak before the gator overturned it, too. Then the alligator blocked the two women from reaching the shore. They weren’t able to get out of the water until firefighters threw them a rope and pulled them to shore. Although the firefighters didn’t measure the alligator, they estimated it to be about 14 feet long. Since gators are uncommon in this lake, it’s likely that it entered through D’Olive Creek after Hurricane Sally. Although it was a terrifying experience, both women were unharmed.
The Largest Alligator Caught in Alabama
Although Lake Forest isn’t known for its massive alligators, there have been some impressive catches in the state! For example, the largest alligator caught in Alabama weighed 1,011.5 pounds. Hunter Mandy Stokes and her crew took down a massive 15 feet 9 inch alligator. The crew consisted of her husband, two teenage children, and her brother-in-law. It took the crew nearly five hours to tackle and kill this large alligator. They first tracked this large alligator in the Alabama River, northwest of Montgomery. They took it to a local state park to be weighed soon after catching it. This massive alligator impressively broke the winch used to hoist the alligator up. Now the alligator’s taxidermied body is on display at the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.
Other Animals in Alabama
American alligators aren’t the only animals in the state. Alabama has 93 native reptile species, including 49 snakes, 12 types of lizards, and 31 turtles. The most common reptiles, other than American alligators, include the green anole, coal skink, Northern mole skink, Mississippi green water snake, and the Atlantic salt marsh snake. In addition to reptiles, the state’s many wooded areas are home to large mammals including white-tailed deer and black bears and smaller ones such as marsh rabbits, long-tailed weasels, Alabama beach mice, and gray bats.
Alabama also has about 60 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. In the ocean water close to Alabama, you can find American eels, Atlantic croakers, bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, blue crabs, and stingrays. If you want a chance to see some of these animals travel to Alabama beaches or state parks. Some beautiful state parks include DeSoto state park, Cheaha State Park, Oak Mountain State Park, and Gulf State Park.