Is Lake Blackshear Georgia’s Alligator Capital?

December 14, 2022

Alligators are some of the largest reptiles on the planet. These semi-aquatic carnivores inhabit the lakes, rivers, and wetlands of the southeastern United States—including Georgia. Alligators can be found throughout much of Georgia, but, is Lake Blackshear Georgia’s alligator capital?

Here, we’ll discover whether or not Lake Blackshear is home to the infamous American alligator. Along the way, we’ll learn a little more about these scaly reptiles, including where they live and what they look like. We’ll also find out where you’re most likely to come across a gator, and how to stay safe around these giant killing machines.

Read on to find out if Lake Blackshear is Georgia’s alligator capital!

Are Alligators Crocodilians?

American and Chinese alligators are the two living gator species.Ernie Hounshell/

Alligators have been around for at least 30 million years. There are two extant (living) species of gator; the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis). Both are members of the Crocodilia Order of animals, which also includes gharials, caimans, saltwater crocodiles, Nile crocodiles, and all other types of crocodiles.

Alligator Range and Habitat

If you’re wondering whether Lake Blackshear is Georgia’s alligator capital, then you’re probably also wondering just where gators actually live. Alligators are a uniquely North American species; their range extends from the coast of North Carolina south to the Florida panhandle, and west to the southern coast of Texas.

Alligators rely on water to live and eat, so they’re almost always found in or near a source of permanent water. Unlike saltwater crocodiles, they can’t survive in saltwater, so you won’t find them living in the ocean. Instead, alligators make their homes in lush, heavily vegetated sources of permanent water, like swamps, lakes, rivers, and even irrigation canals.

Alligators: What do they Look Like?

Alligator eating
Alligators have very thick skin and powerful jaws.Peter Aronson/

Made famous by their toothy smiles, alligators are all scales, teeth, and claws. They have very long jaws, which can clamp down with enough force to sever limbs and crush bone. Their eyes are located on the top of their head, and their bodies are long and streamlined, ending in rudder-like tails. Alligators are fast in the water, but their short, powerful legs allow them to run surprisingly fast on dry land.

With a diet of fish, turtles, deer, wild pigs, snakes, and small mammals, it’s no wonder alligators have so many teeth. But, they also have thick, scaly hides that protect them from attacks by other gators. Their scales are dark green, with yellow and brown highlights that make these apex predators truly beautiful to behold.

How Many Alligators are there in Lake Blackshear?

To answer the question: is Lake Blackshear Georgia’s Alligator capital? We first need to determine if there are any gators living in the lake. Lake Blackshear covers over 8,000 acres in south-central Georgia. However, it’s on the very edge of the American alligator’s range.

Despite this, alligators are indeed present in the lake. In fact, wildlife biologists discovered a 13-foot gator living along the shores of Lake Blackshear in 2020. Unfortunately, the massive alligator was in very poor health due to unhealed gunshot wounds and had to be humanely euthanized.

But, the presence of this large gator in Lake Blackshear is indicative of a thriving alligator population in the lake and its surrounding waters. There are likely many, smaller, alligators living in Lake Blackshear.

Where You’re Most Likely to See Gators

If you’re going to Georgia specifically to see alligators, you might want to skip Lake Blackshear and head straight to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. This giant swamp is one of the most alligator-infested places in Georgia; it’s home to an estimated 10,000 wild alligators!

But, if you’re traveling through any part of southern Georgia, here are the places you’re most likely to encounter a gator:

  1. Lying on the sunny bank of a lake or river
  2. Guarding a nest (female gators only)
  3. Lying in wait in the water
  4. Walking across the road

Are Alligators Dangerous?

Alligators may be cute when they’re little, but they grow up to be incredibly deadly predators. An adult alligator may grow up to 14 feet, and weigh over 1,000 pounds; they’re not animals to be messed with. It is important to remember one thing: caution. Alligators are at home in the waters of the southeastern United States, and they are wild, carnivorous animals. Unfortunately, there have been many cases over the years of people straying too close to the water’s edge, and being taken by a large gator.

Like all wild animals, alligators should be treated with respect and caution. Let’s take a look at a few of the things you can do to stay safe around these incredible creatures.

Staying Safe Around Gators

One of the best things you can do to stay safe around alligators is to stay at least ten feet back from the water, this goes for pets too. Additionally, never feed alligators, and never, ever approach an alligator nest.

You might also enjoy

New Animals

Ackie Monitor

The ackie monitor has a spiny tail which it uses as in self-defense.

Relate News