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PalmTreeDude

Are There Alligators In The VA Beach Area?

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PalmTreeDude

I was recently reading about alligators and read that some have "slipped" over the boarder into Virginia. Obviously right along the boarder and coast. Does anyone think this is true or that there are any there maybe going in and out of Virginia?  

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kinzyjr
PalmTreeDude
On 7/2/2018, 10:45:31, kinzyjr said:

Dang, the one picture of an alligator supposedly in the Chesapeake Bay was surprising. I went there a few days ago for the day, it was fun, but I didn't see any alligators. But the swamps looked like they could hold a few alligators. 

20180703_122224.jpg

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PalmTreeDude

Lots of Spanish Moss, I saw q lot at First Landing Stae Park and even saw some in a few wooded neighborhoods along the coast line. 

20180703_124234.jpg

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PalmatierMeg

I've never heard of alligators in VA or NC and have serious doubts about their survival over winter. Same with Chesapeake Bay, which is mainly saltwater whereas alligators prefer freshwater. If someone actually saw one there, which I suspect is an urban myth, it might have been an illegal pet released in the wild. I've heard of alligators "in the wild" as far north and west as MI, NY and CA. They are always illegal releases that must be caught and removed. I have seen wild alligators as far north as Myrtle Beach, SC that have weathered winters and were quite large.

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Xerarch
6 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

I've never heard of alligators in VA or NC and have serious doubts about their survival over winter. Same with Chesapeake Bay, which is mainly saltwater whereas alligators prefer freshwater. If someone actually saw one there, which I suspect is an urban myth, it might have been an illegal pet released in the wild. I've heard of alligators "in the wild" as far north and west as MI, NY and CA. They are always illegal releases that must be caught and removed. I have seen wild alligators as far north as Myrtle Beach, SC that have weathered winters and were quite large.

There are certainly alligators in North Carolina, I’ve seen them, but I’ve always heard that that’s about as far north as they go. 

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PalmTreeDude

Here is a place in North Carolina that has a ton of alligators and is even named after them. I know they also are in swamps along the coast just 20 miles south of the Virginia/North Carolina boarder with alligators. I have seen them personally in North Carolina just south of Elizabeth City while I was fishing. I remember everyone freaking out. 

Screenshot_20180718-092229_Maps.jpg

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DoomsDave

If, in fact, the climate is warming, then I think it's inevitable that 'gators will make their way to Virginia, if they haven't already. They don't care about politics, though I suspect that car-heavy Virginia might pose other challenges to them.

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frienduvafrond

AllIgators a plenty here and a few manatees as well. Curiously though, still no armadillos.

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metalfan

People in South Florida are saying they are seeing black panthers down there. I live on the edge of a state nature preserve here in North Central Florida and thee have been reported sightings of what the game warden says is a Jaguarundi in the preserve. Its been sighted by several people at different times. Which is really weird because they are native to Mexico. They are occasionally seen in the far west in Texas but never here in Florida! Some folks around here also claim to be seeing wolves. We have always had coyotes but wolves would be a totally new thing around here. As to alligators, our next door neighbor has a 6 footer that lives in his pond. I think wildlife is moving around the country as habitats are lost and the climate changes. So alligators in Virginia wouldn't surprise me at all.

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NC_Palms
On 7/14/2018, 10:01:15, PalmatierMeg said:

I've never heard of alligators in VA or NC and have serious doubts about their survival over winter. Same with Chesapeake Bay, which is mainly saltwater whereas alligators prefer freshwater. If someone actually saw one there, which I suspect is an urban myth, it might have been an illegal pet released in the wild. I've heard of alligators "in the wild" as far north and west as MI, NY and CA. They are always illegal releases that must be caught and removed. I have seen wild alligators as far north as Myrtle Beach, SC that have weathered winters and were quite large.

This article should answer your question on how alligators survive a NC winter 

 https://www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-42629269/how-north-carolina-s-alligators-are-surviving-the-cold-snap

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Silas_Sancona
On 8/18/2018, 7:20:10, metalfan said:

People in South Florida are saying they are seeing black panthers down there. I live on the edge of a state nature preserve here in North Central Florida and thee have been reported sightings of what the game warden says is a Jaguarundi in the preserve. Its been sighted by several people at different times. Which is really weird because they are native to Mexico. They are occasionally seen in the far west in Texas but never here in Florida! Some folks around here also claim to be seeing wolves. We have always had coyotes but wolves would be a totally new thing around here. As to alligators, our next door neighbor has a 6 footer that lives in his pond. I think wildlife is moving around the country as habitats are lost and the climate changes. So alligators in Virginia wouldn't surprise me at all.

While i can't speak to the sightings of Black Panthers in the southern portion of the state, i also remember hearing the reports of jaguarundi in various spots across central and northern FL.. as well as other spots across the Gulf Coast as well. There have also been possible sightings from very remote corners of both Rim Country and the White Mountain / Sky islands near the N.M. / AZ./ Mexico borderlands here in AZ.  There are also rare but consistent sightings of Ocelot and Jaguars in that part of the state as well.. Latest was an Ocelot spotted in the mountains south of Tucson on August 12th of this year.. In the case of Jaguars, interesting to think they roamed as far north as Monterey and Santa Cruz County back in CA, ( pretty much my backyard growing up..) and as far east as Florida.. until overly fearful people drove them out.. I personally would rather understand the possibility of seeing them while out on a hike, than seeing grazing Cattle and / or Sheep.. 

As far as Alligators, as others have said, there's no reason to think they couldn't roam further north than one might suspect.. Especially if they can survive some degree of cold.. Lessen that cold at that northern boundary and i don't doubt you'll see "explorers" showing up in unexpected places, looking to settle down in new territory.. Have also heard that some may also be adapting to salt water exposure in some places, ie: being able to tolerate swimming in it longer / better..

That being said, unless the entire Desert Southwest suddenly turns wetter, humid,& swampy.. long enough to entice gators in east Texas to take a long walk west,  Alligator sightings here and in Calif. are purely escapees, whether accidental or intentional..   

 

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metalfan

I don't know how old any of you are, I don't want to actually betray my age LOL but lets say I am getting up there with God at this point. But when I was a child in the 1960's we lived in West Texas (Abilene). My grandparents lived in the big city (Dallas) and my sister and I frequently went to spend time with them in the summers. There was a fad back then, maybe some of you remember it, c1965-66-67 or so, where they actually sold baby alligators in the pet departments of dime stores like Kreskies and Woolworth.  This was in both Dallas and Abilene and I am sure other cities as well. They sold them for between $5-10 each. I wanted one so badly. Anytime we went to the dime store with my grandparents I would literally BEG for a pet alligator because I knew I had a much better chance wearing them down than my own parents. But it never happened. My parents had some friends in Abilene who actually bought two. They had a special little water feature made in their living room to display the gators. When I say LITTLE i mean LITTLE. Looking back, I wonder what they were thinking? Didn't they realize these little babies were going to grow to an unmanageable size to keep in a small house? People who bought them in Dallas ended up dumping them in lakes and in the Trinity River. My grandfather had a membership to fish on a small private lake and the owner allowed people to bring the alligators there and let them loose. He had a little john boat and we would go fish out there a lot and occasionally you would see one. Scared the crap out of me. It gets pretty cold in both Abilene and Dallas in the winters and I doubt any of those gators survived long term. But the possibilities that somewhere somehow they did is kind of tantalizing.

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BS Man about Palms

I forgot about little alligators for sale when I was a kid... I remember them!!

 

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SEVA

I can't say for certain that alligators are in Virginia, but they sure are close.  Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if they're already there.  Currently, I know that alligators are <10 miles south of the VA/NC line.  There are alligators in Merchants Millpond State Park in Gates County, NC.  I've seen them personally.  I'll post a few photos from about 10 years ago.

20190331_005145.jpg

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SEVA

Sorry about the poor quality, but here are the photos of one of the Merchants Millpond alligators.

FB_IMG_1554006890585.jpg

20190331_003556.jpg

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SEVA

I'll share this photo, because I found it to be interesting.  I took this photo in Suffolk, VA.  The sign has been there for years (I can't remember how long; maybe 10 years now?).

FB_IMG_1554006927432.jpg

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PalmTreeDude
13 hours ago, SEVA said:

I can't say for certain that alligators are in Virginia, but they sure are close.  Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if they're already there.  Currently, I know that alligators are <10 miles south of the VA/NC line.  There are alligators in Merchants Millpond State Park in Gates County, NC.  I've seen them personally.  I'll post a few photos from about 10 years ago.

20190331_005145.jpg

Wow, farther West than The Great Dismal Swamp! 

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SEVA

Most folks I talk to don't realize they're even there.  Growing up, I played ball in Gates and I would hear rumors of gators, but no one seemed sure.  I want to say I first saw them around 2008 or 2009.  If I remember correctly, a ranger informed me that they appeared sometime in the 90s (maybe 80s) and were approaching breeding size a few years ago.  Here's a photo of the millpond from last summer (2018).

20180818_155952.jpg

Edited by SEVA
Correction needed

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edbrown_III

I see the cypress but I dont see any alligators ?

 

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Laaz

You normally wont see gators in salt water, they don't like it. They do however get swept out with the tides from the rivers from time to time.

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Silas_Sancona
2 hours ago, Laaz said:

m9bkzm.jpg

This is very true   though rare as it is, some recent research i'd skimmed over awhile back suggested some specimens have been observed moving between both freshwater and saltwater areas on their own, without any ill effects, as though they're gaining better tolerance to saltier water over time... Wouldn't be surprised --if true-- myself..

As far as general range goes,  Intauralist' range map for the the species in Virginia extends as far north as Petersburg, and encompasses both Norfolk and Virginia Beach, though i'd suspect you wouldn't encounter the same # of individuals there as you might further south, at least at this point in time. Might be a different story in another 10-20 years.

Interestingly, Inaturalist observations seem to reveal that there have been more and more sightings of Alligators in / around places like San Antonio, Brownsville, and around McAllen in the last 10+ years, which is a bit further west and south than the currently suggested range in Texas.

If indeed the species is extending its range there, vs artificial introduction, it is highly likely all of it's territory is expanding. Wonder if American Crocs follow suit, esp. around the Gulf of CA. / Sea of Cortez., and further north along the Gulf of Mexico, closer to southern Texas. 

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SEVA
19 hours ago, edbrown_III said:

I see the cypress but I dont see any alligators ?

 

The last photo I posted is just a photo of the millpond.  There are no alligators in that photo.  My second post with the 2 photos has the alligator.

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DoomsDave

Not seeing alligators is exactly what they're about. They sit and wait, then strike.

Like Thunderball. (Mardi Gras ain't their thing . . . )

 

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DoomsDave
On 4/17/2019 at 2:29 PM, Silas_Sancona said:

This is very true   though rare as it is, some recent research i'd skimmed over awhile back suggested some specimens have been observed moving between both freshwater and saltwater areas on their own, without any ill effects, as though they're gaining better tolerance to saltier water over time... Wouldn't be surprised --if true-- myself..

As far as general range goes,  Intauralist' range map for the the species in Virginia extends as far north as Petersburg, and encompasses both Norfolk and Virginia Beach, though i'd suspect you wouldn't encounter the same # of individuals there as you might further south, at least at this point in time. Might be a different story in another 10-20 years.

Interestingly, Inaturalist observations seem to reveal that there have been more and more sightings of Alligators in / around places like San Antonio, Brownsville, and around McAllen in the last 10+ years, which is a bit further west and south than the currently suggested range in Texas.

If indeed the species is extending its range there, vs artificial introduction, it is highly likely all of it's territory is expanding. Wonder if American Crocs follow suit, esp. around the Gulf of CA. / Sea of Cortez., and further north along the Gulf of Mexico, closer to southern Texas. 

Where'd you get that picture? :bemused:

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PalmTreeDude

I had no clue that iNaturalist had animals on it, I always looked up plants on it (haha). That's interesting. I was at VA Beach during the winter this year and on the day I went it was 44°F at my house and 60°F at the beach (I looked at the tempatures at the same time). I also would look on the tempature map from time to time and the tempatures in VA Beach would often times be similar to the tempatures in areas of North Carolina known to have native alligators. 

Edited by PalmTreeDude
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Silas_Sancona
3 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

Where'd you get that picture? :bemused:

Lol, Research, lots of it  ..and critical thinking on how animals are, and will likely respond as areas once too cool for sustained survival, become warmer, opening all sorts of new territory to them to explore/ potentially populate. If you look at inaturalist data, several Turtle sp. that are common to the same areas as Alligator, have been spotted around So. Cal.. Released intentionally, or escapees.. If they can survive, who knows what else ..more associated with the southern USA could as well.. Some good sized Gators turned up a bit north of their suggested range in Arkansas recently also.. Calls to local authorities were met with doubt until those who responded saw the gators w/ their own eyes.. and weren't sure what to do..

Cant remember what it had been named, but wasn't there an Alligator that had survived X # of years barely noticed somewhere in L.A. sometime ago? Have also heard all the.. -likely far fetched-  ..stories about the possibility that a few might hang out in the wetland areas near the Santa Ana River ( maybe the Prado dam area?? )..  anyhow, Fossil records from California also contain Alligator in the not so far past. Crocodiles are recorded from the Tucson area, when it was swamp land long ago as well..

I will say this.. For all the time i lived in FL. i only encountered Alligators twice, Small guy in a retention pond behind a Car Dealership the Nursery / Landscape Company i worked  for at the time took care of.. Couldn't get within 15' or so before it would retreat into the water.  Didn't see any big boys until i stopped at a viewing area along the 41 in Big Cypress on my way back from Homestead.. Barely noticed me looking down at them from 10' up the bank of the ditch behind a fence. Great models for some close up shots though... Nothing to be afraid of, just have respect for when you're in their territory.. Most problems w/ them arise when people feed them. 

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Silas_Sancona
28 minutes ago, PalmTreeDude said:

I had no clue that iNaturalist had animals on it, I always looked up plants on it (haha). That's interesting. I was at VA Beach during the winter this year and on the day I went it was 44°F at my house and 60°F at the beach (I looked at the tempatures at the same time). I also would look on the tempature map from time to time and the tempatures in VA Beach would be similar to the tempatures in areas of North Carolina known to have native alligators. 

Ohh, lol.. you will be BUSY looking up stuff on iNat. I use this and sites like Ebird for researching / cross reference also. Interestingly, After doing some comparison, if you look at the current ranges of all the native wading / shore birds in Florida / most of the South east,  and California ( particularly Southern CA. ) With the exception of a few.. Most of the species you'd expect to see in FL. either are already native to... or have / are continuing to expand their presence in California from the south or east.. I was quite surprised when i compared lists.. Also, take a look at where American Flamingo have been spotted ..Not just in Southern FL any more.. And perhaps other unexpected places also:winkie:

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DoomsDave
15 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Lol, Research, lots of it  ..and critical thinking on how animals are, and will likely respond as areas once too cool for sustained survival, become warmer, opening all sorts of new territory to them to explore/ potentially populate. If you look at inaturalist data, several Turtle sp. that are common to the same areas as Alligator, have been spotted around So. Cal.. Released intentionally, or escapees.. If they can survive, who knows what else ..more associated with the southern USA could as well.. Some good sized Gators turned up a bit north of their suggested range in Arkansas recently also.. Calls to local authorities were met with doubt until those who responded saw the gators w/ their own eyes.. and weren't sure what to do..

Cant remember what it had been named, but wasn't there an Alligator that had survived X # of years barely noticed somewhere in L.A. sometime ago? Have also heard all the.. -likely far fetched-  ..stories about the possibility that a few might hang out in the wetland areas near the Santa Ana River ( maybe the Prado dam area?? )..  anyhow, Fossil records from California also contain Alligator in the not so far past. Crocodiles are recorded from the Tucson area, when it was swamp land long ago as well..

I will say this.. For all the time i lived in FL. i only encountered Alligators twice, Small guy in a retention pond behind a Car Dealership the Nursery / Landscape Company i worked  for at the time took care of.. Couldn't get within 15' or so before it would retreat into the water.  Didn't see any big boys until i stopped at a viewing area along the 41 in Big Cypress on my way back from Homestead.. Barely noticed me looking down at them from 10' up the bank of the ditch behind a fence. Great models for some close up shots though... Nothing to be afraid of, just have respect for when you're in their territory.. Most problems w/ them arise when people feed them. 

Dunno about Prado dam, but there was a gator living in a stream near Torrance a while back. He was the infamous "Reggie" the alligator, who was quite the escape artiste. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggie_(alligator)

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Silas_Sancona
11 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

Dunno about Prado dam, but there was a gator living in a stream near Torrance a while back. He was the infamous "Reggie" the alligator, who was quite the escape artiste. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggie_(alligator)

Yep, that was it.. Also saw that one has supposedly been observed in a retention lake in Elk Grove, and a 4 footer was shot /killed in Alameda Creek, near Niles Canyon ( Fremont area ) Both were reports from last year.

As for the Prado dam / flood control basin Alligator(s) the accounts listed in the "Not confirmed as established" section of the Alien species section on the CA. Herps page suggests one was found and killed there /somewhere in that area, with it's hide on display at the office of Raahauge's Shooting Enterprises Duck Club in Norco. The report states that it may be the only one that was found there, but leaves open the possibility that more might exist.

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Laaz

 

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PalmTreeDude

I just randomly thought I should look up American Alligators on the iNaturalist app, and this is a picture of one apparently taken on the Virginia side of the Great Dismal Swamp. There are also a bunch of pictures of them at Merchants Millpond State Park, NC, which is, like mentioned before, quite far inland for this far north. This one is a bigger one that was spotted in VA. 

SmartSelect_20200118-133752_iNaturalist.jpg

SmartSelect_20200118-133818_iNaturalist.jpg

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PalmTreeDude
On 5/27/2019 at 9:55 PM, NC_Palms said:

According to iNaturalist, someone documented an alligator on the Virginia side of the Great Dismal Swamp. 

 

1071086960_ScreenShot2019-05-27at9_55_43PM.png.0491932de7010a083d51afbf15b933c7.png

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&taxon_id=26159

Oops! Sorry I just reposted what you already said, I didn't since it since I was scrolling on my phone. I forgot that this was already posted here. 

Edited by PalmTreeDude

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climate change virginia

there have been spottings of them going up the potomac I live right on the potomac I have never seen them

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PalmTreeDude
On 1/6/2021 at 1:35 PM, climate change virginia said:

there have been spottings of them going up the potomac I live right on the potomac I have never seen them

Those must have been released pets, that happens here from time to time.

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PalmTreeDude

On iNaturalist there are now two alligator sightings on the Virginia side of the Great Dismal Swamp, here’s the new one, I believe it sets the date of the post automatically to the time that the picture was taken. 

0FF1B932-DC2A-4363-B1A5-BB3ECB552E7E.png

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