Tuesday, May 25, 2010

No Alligators in Virginia. Zero. None.

Mature American Alligator in Dismal Swamp NWR, less than 20 miles south of the NC-VA border (photo from Patrick Balester - author of a new novel about the Dismal Swamp)
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(edit to readers (June 2010): I have followed up on this post with a more detailed habitat analysis of border wetlands and waterways...just click here to see!)
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New update (August  2011) - Where, exactly, will gators post up (and not be removed) in Virginia? 
Click here to find out!

I have a great fascination with the American Alligator. I grew up in near-tropical southeastern Virginia, and during the summers of 100% humidity and 100+ degree temperatures, trust me, it seemed like a great place for alligators to live. But even as a teenager, it seemed like the more books I consulted and the more people I talked to, the greater the consensus was that alligators do not live in Virginia. Never have. Never will. Out of curiosity only, I've spent 15 years poking and prodding to find out why not - after all, the Alligator River (which is full of wild, reproducing alligators) is just a few dozen miles from the Virginia border. And it's connected to Virginia via a system of deep, secluded canals and swamps. So why not, then?



Large mature American Alligator in Alligator River NWR, less than 50 miles south of the NC-VA border. 
Photo: Alligator River NWR Blog
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In the 1980s and 1990s, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Geological Survey decided to get a better handle on site-specific needs of different animal species by creating a library of Habitat Suitability Indices (HSI). These models were made to show whether an actual area within a farm, state park, refuge, etc would be a suitable habitat for an individual species. Based on a mix of quantitative and qualitative data, the HSIs (most commonly developed for game species or endangered species) frequently over- and under-shot the ability of wildlife to survive in adverse conditions, but generally provided good "frame of reference" - i.e. - very good, very bad, or OK/marginal habitat. Nothing wrong with that.
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So the American Alligator, a federally threatened species, has its own HSI, which was developed in 1987. It's a pretty good one - stating up front that alligators only live as far north as North Carolina. Their source (cited, even)?......a field guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians published in 1958. Wow, not so scientific. In addition, it also states that the model only applies to the marshes of Louisiana and Texas. Even though the document is simply titled, "HSI Models: American Alligator." There is no HSI for the Atlantic coastal plain "sub-population" of alligators.
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Hmm. So this is why biologists still refuse to believe that wild alligators can move across the Virginia -North Carolina line - a 1958 field guide and a habitat model for gators living in South Texas. The National Parks Conservation Association says that alligators are found as far north as Georgia (just Georgia?). The USFWS Endangered Species Act website shows the gator's range as mysteriously extending exactly to the NC-VA border and not one inch further. I found a poster on the internet who stated boldly that no alligators can survive north of Montgomery, Alabama! But more importantly, here's the dubious map of record, based on a 1958 field guide:

The current (academically accepted) range of the American Alligator.
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So if the American Alligator can possibly survive north of the VA-NC border, then why isn't it already there?






Railroads constructed for timber harvest in the Dismal Swamp, late 1800s
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Two factors - alligator hunting (for skins) and swamp timber harvesting (resulting in increased swamp access and even more gator hunting) - decimated the American Alligator population in the late 1800s and early 1900s, notably the 1920s-1940s. In 1967, USFWS listed them as federally Endangered, and following 20 years of full protection, they were re-classified as Threatened in 1987. The primary remaining threat to alligators is the loss of marsh habitat to real estate development. However, healthy, reproducing populations are documented as far north as northern North Carolina, within 20 miles of the Virginia border.

Dismal Swamp, current condition
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So we can agree that:
  • alligators (wild, not abandoned pets) are living within 20 miles of the VA-NC border.
  • alligators are reproducing in at least two distinct areas within 70 miles of the border.
  • Mature alligators are living (perhaps reproducing) within the Dismal Swamp NWR, which crosses the border.
So, have any truly wild alligators been spotted in Virginia recently? And if so, what is their deal? How did they get there?
My best synopsis of recent reports (2005-2009) of Alligator sightings north of the border. Many are clearly released pets. A few others (mature individuals) seemed less likely to be so. Do you like the cartoon gator? It's as scientific as a 1958 field guide!

Alligators (likely wild) have been spotted recently in the Back Bay area of Virginia Beach, the Virginia portion of Dismal Swamp NWR, and the Dismal Swamp Canal near the VA-NC border. Many other gators, likely abandoned pets, have been captured to the north and west, where they have survived winters - multiple winters, in some cases - and are feasting on turtles, fish, and small mammals. Those animals all happen to be alligators' favorite foods, and they occur "aplenty" in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland stormwater ponds and reservoirs.
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From talking to local birdwatchers and hunters, my best guess is that alligators, perhaps young males, are moving north into Virginia through the Dismal Swamp Canal and the Intracoastal Waterway. I've written before on the Dismal Swamp Canal (second half of this post), as has my brother the Tugboatdude, in a blog ironically titled "Dismal Swamp Canal." And here. And of course, I can't find the post where he's holding a big but tattered swamp bass. Tough luck, buddy.
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Historically, the winters in southern Virginia may have been a limiting factor on the hibernation of alligators - meaning that any gators that chose to hibernate in Virginia may have frozen to death, or not successfully reproduced the following summer. The North Carolina towns nearest the border have an average January temperature of 28 - 33 degrees farenheit, while the Virginia towns near the border have an average January temperature of 26.5 - 32.6 degrees farenheit. Given seasonal variability and our changing climate, this difference does not seem significant. I was pretty surprised by how close the numbers are.
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So where and when in Virginia should we expect to start seeing consistent year-to-year alligator activity? That'll have to wait for Part II.
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Thanks for reading!

44 comments:

Leigh said...

Very insightful post!

tugboatdude said...

well written!I can't wait for someone's dog to get eaten by one that's the only way it will get recognized in southern Virginia.Everyone knowss they are there it's almost like they are scared to admit it.maybe in my hunting and fishing travels I can snap a pic and prove it,that is if I'm not to scared and run away

Swamp Thing said...

Honestly, most (not all) of the ones I've seen in NC and the northern part of SC are usually 3-5 footers, large juveniles basically.

The political aspect of this - which is playing out in Western VA with elk and mountain lion - is that if VA recognizes that it exists, it must have a detailed "species management plan" for it - those things take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to write, especially for a dangerous animal on the end. species list.

Anonymous said...

At Frostburg State, my herpetology prof taught me that the historical northern range boundary for the alligator was the James River in Virginia.

Swamp Thing said...

Anon - who's your professor? Would love to talk to him/her!

dmason390 said...

The lack of recognition is purely ploitical. As you see on your map, there is a reproducing population in Merchant Mills pond park in NC. Thta is probably 10-15 miles south of suffolk. It connects to the Nansemend river where (surprise) gators are occasionally reported. Plus with the work on route 17 in Chesapeke, several people have seen and taken pictures of smaller gators in the adjacent canal. You should look for "Southern sportsman" tapes. THey did a show where they caught some gators sunning on the banks of the Northwest river and bck bay.

Swamp Thing said...

Thanks Dmason! I was talking to my brother about it, and I DO remember "Southern Sportsman"...let's see if I can track it down!

Anonymous said...

The Frostburg prof was Dr. Howard (I think his first name is James) who said the historical northern boundary for alligators was the James River. He has since retired from teaching. I don't know where he is but hopefully it's somewhere with lots of reptiles and amphibians :)

sender said...

I am pleased to learn that that I am not alone in believing that the American alligator could not only live, but thrive, in south east Virginia. I am so old (77) that my grand father used to hunt bear in The Great Dismal Swamp (it has not always been a wildlife preserve and my grand dad was of a time and generation who ignored hunting laws anyway, having eight children to feed thru the great Depression)and at some point before WWII (I was six or seven) he gave me an alligator tooth he said he had shot while hunting bear in the swamp. He was probably on the Carolina side but I doubt that a gator pays much attention to state lines.
Russ Flynn

sender said...

I am pleased to learn that I am not alone in believing that the American alligator could not only live, but thrive, in south east Virginia. I am so old (77) that my grand father used to hunt bear in The Great Dismal Swamp (it has not always been a wildlife preserve and my grand dad was of a time and generation who ignored hunting laws anyway, having eight children to feed thru the Great Depression)and at some point before WWII (I was six or seven) he gave me an alligator tooth from a animal he said he shot while hunting bear in the swamp. He was probably on the Carolina side but I doubt that a gator pays much attention to state lines.
Russ Flynn

Picks By Pat said...

I'm flattered that you used my photo to illustrate your very interesting blog post on the American Alligator. I was frankly very surprised when I saw this fellow in Merchant Mills Pond in 2004. I estimated he was between five and seven feet, though I'm not an expert on size. I can only imagine he's gotten bigger since then.

Patrick Balester

Swamp Thing said...

Russ - thanks for stopping by! The dismal swamp has always amazed me, and I am truly just starting to learn about it - one of my brothers moved to Deep Creek (on the swamp's northeastern corner) in 2005, my other brother just moved to Suffolk (on the swamp's east side), so we are spending more and more time kicking around there - fishing, hunting, and kayaking.

Swamp Thing said...

Patrick - thanks for stopping by and for being very gracious about my hijacking your photo (hey, at least I promoted your book!). If you would prefer me to link to your blog instead of your regular website, by all means, just let me know.

Anonymous said...

I found this sight because I came across what seemed to me to be a baby alligator in Suffolk, Va. Now, I am 43 years old and grew up in the southern most part of Suffolk my entire life. My family used to log the swamp and I have hunted there for several years. I have never seen a gator in all those years. Yet I have seen them at Merchants Mill Pond in Gates just a couple miles south of the line near Corapeake. But today, I was walking outside of my plant in Suffolk, which back up to the Nansemond river and its marshes. There is a storm water pipe that comes up to the parking lot that this time of year is full of water and has a slanted slope. The animal in question was laying at the edge sunning (it is 80 degrees today and unseasonally warm for end of October). As I approached, the animal in question spun around so quiclky and dove in the water that all i could make out was tail, four legs, and dark color. Approximately 1 1/2 feet long and body circumference was consistant whith the baby gators I have seen at the gator farm in Florida. Your guess is as good as mine. Seen at 3:30 pm 10/26/10.

Swamp Thing said...

If you're SURE it had legs, that sounds exactly like a juvenile gator or caiman. Storm pipe outfalls are great places to hang out (if you're a gator) because easy-to-catch food like frogs and turtles are attracted to the areas to chase bugs and small fish. Also a good place to hang out because the water coming out of the pipe is probably warm.

Question remains - did he hatch wild, or was he a dumped pet? 20 years from now, it may not really matter.

As you may have guessed, we are from the Tidewater area and my brother just moved to Suffolk (from the Peninsula) - he's doing a lot of scouting for ducks these days.

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting page! As a Floridian I will tell you that even here in central Florida its gets cold at night in the winter. The Orlando area is supposed to average in the 50s at night in Jan and Feb but it does get down into the 30's,20's, and even under 20 once in a great while. Even here during Jan and Feb its really tough to spot any gators (unless your in Gainesville of course haha). The best time to see them is in the spring when they spend a ton of time out of the water . Perhaps if you decide to look for some the spring will be your best shot at seeing them there. Good luck and if you see any don't feed them because they are very habit forming creatures.

duke23667 said...

Very informative. I am a native Virginian now living in Los Angeles, but I have been following this debate for many years. It was too cold for gators to live in my bith place of Brunswick County, but I thought I saw a gator in the Chesapeake area pnce. I was thrilled, but was cautioned that no gators can live that far north. Virginia is the northern limits for most things southern. Why not gators too? Baby gators have been seen in the Lynnhaven River in VA Beach. Where there are babies, there must be parents.

Anonymous said...

Read the article from Elizabeth City today.

Swamp Thing said...

Yup - another one in the Dismal Swamp Canal!!!

NovaGuy said...

Very interesting! I'm from northern virginia but I'm always heading down south for vacations and spend a lot of time in the OBX North Carolina. For years I've believed gators could live in southern Virginia. Especially after traveling to Alligator river last year. Can't express how many times I've searched online for some information on gators in VA. Glad to see someone is actually putting research into this!

It's Sew Carrie said...

Alligator Sighting in Lake Chesdin http://www.wric.com/Global/story.asp?S=14885727

RJD said...

The Richmond Times Dispatch ran an article several years ago about 8' gators that are found in Mill Dam State Park which borders NC in Gates County. Falling Creek Reservoir in Richmond also was found to have a 3' gator (a released pet) that successfully survived at least 2 winters before someone beat it to death with a paddle.

rlcharters said...

As a youngster, my grandmother mailed me an alligator while visiting Florida. I later found out that it was really a South American caiman. It was illegal to sell baby gators. Is it now legal. I hear talk of released "pets". Can someone tell me when it became legal to sell alligators again? I know it is legal to hunt them, but I did not know they could be sold. With Maryland and Virginia now having trouble with the snakehead, and other parts of the country having problems with exotic pets being released (Burmese python), why would our country allow for the exportation of alligators to other parts of the country? I certainly hope no one decides to start importing the cottonmouth water moccasin north of the James.

Chicken bone Bow-Man said...

Of course recognizing Alligators live in Va. is political. They have been sighted in Portsmouth Norfolk And Chesapeake. I Hunt Land in suffolk with several in the beaver ponds and the numbers are increasing. Also let us not forget the hot ditch area of the Elizabeth river. Here you often catch fish that are not often seen off of coastal Va., such as Barracuda, jack crevalle, lady fish and mangrove snapper. If these fish can make it to Va and survive the winter alligators can. Also there are historical accounts from Early settlers in the Library of congress with gator sightings In southern Delaware Bay. Lets not forget the manatee in Md.

ang481 said...

I am moving to Suffolk Virginia in a few months and am fascinated by swamps and alligators, I cannot tell you how excited this post makes me!

Steve W said...

I lived in Norfolk for 4 years when I was a kid. (My sister now lives in Pungo which is right on Back Bay). I used to play around the Elizabeth River and can you believe I never saw a cottonmouth in all that time?!! So that goes to show that just because no one has seen an gators that they're not in Va. I read that the North Pole has now shifted into Russia which could mean a climate shift south to north. If this winter is any indication, you will, w/out a doubt start seeing gators in Va within the next few years.

Fabio K. Juliano said...

Well written essay about a rather interesting critter, but for the record, no part of Virginia is "tropical". Like almost the entire American South, the Hampton Roads region falls in the subtropical classification, which goes from central Florida to southern New Jersey. For a truly tropical climate (all 12 months with a mean temperature above 18 °C (64 °F)), you would have to go to southern Florida.

River Mud said...

Fabio, thanks for the note. And that's why I wrote "near tropical." The areas under discussion in this article (southern Virginia) have a mean temperature above 64F (based on historical averages) about 7 months per year. Not tropical. But close.

For comparison, gator-thick areas to the south aren't ridiculously warmer...Tallahassee meets that criteria just 8 months per year, Orlando just 10 months per year, and New Orleans???....only 7 months.

So I think "near tropical" works ;)

Frank Watrous said...

Important Point: Alligators are not "tropical." A significant distinction needs to be made regarding alligators versus all other species of crocodilians: Alligators (alone, among crocodilians) are temperate zone species, not tropical. This applies to both the American and the Chinese alligator (the only two remaining species). Both are found only in the temperate zones of their continents -- and nowhere in the tropics. The closest that the American alligator gets to the tropics (or subtropics) is the Florida Keys, the only portion of the continental U.S. that never experiences freezing weather. This, however, is an insignificant portion of our alligator's natural range. (In Texas, the alligator's range ends at the Rio Grande (where it is not very common).) As temperate animals, both alligator species are well-equipped to deal with freezing weather, both physiologically and behaviorally. No, of course, they cannot survive in North Dakota! But there are numerous well-documented examples of released/escaped alligators being able to survive repeated cold winters in northern states well beyond their natural range (e.g., Pennsylvania). They probably cannot reproduce there, but they do possess the mechanisms for surviving there. (As another well-documented example, the St Louis, MO, zoo has regularly kept its alligators outside during the winter.) Now, can alligators ever be killed by cold weather? Of course. Warm winter weather, followed by sudden extreme winter drops in temperature can produce fatalities amongst those alligators caught in exposed locations. But, these events present problems for other animals, especially reptiles(as well as plants), too. However, they are not extermination events, and those individuals that were more prudent or are in more sheltered locations survive. So, with reference to Virginia - and alligators - we need to think more in terms of warmer portions of the temperate zone, and southeastern Virginia definitely qualifies. Let 'em come -- back home -- again!

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh at the statement that no alligators live north of Montgomery in Alabama. There are many alligators in the Tennessee river in North Alabama. They were brought many years ago to help control the beaver population.

john prince said...

It's call Subtropical. In the botanical world, subtropical refers to those regions around the world that are similar and like in climate to the region of the Southeast Coastal Plain -roughly from eastern Virginia down to northern Florida and west to east Texas, all mostly the topographical areas east of and south of the Piedmont. We normally use Subtropical species of plants in southeastern Va because they are the MOST sustainable long term, and can take the heat and humidity. We grow 6-10 varieties of palms easily, and they are Sustainable. We have the Live Oak as a native (the Live Oak's most southern native habitat is in western Cuba!) We here, follow those plants that thrive in the range of the Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) The Alligator is curiously native to the same regions that Sabal minor -dwarf Palmetto- is native. We grow dwarf palmetto, and regular palmetto very large here in southeast Va. While South Hampton Roads is connected to the Ches. Bay, we are quite different in flora long term.
For this poster, I was trying to find a contact for you and could not. I applaud your work and blog.

john prince said...

Additionally, and referring to another poster above, the lack of recognition of Alligators in southeast Va or Palms as sustainable in southeast Va IS quite purely political. As such, my world, the botanical world of the Southeast Coastal Plain, is THE botanical region I and many plantsman subscribe to for truthful and sustainable plant discourse. Political boundaries make terrible flora and fauna habitat boundaries!

Anonymous said...

Per Chicken bone Bow man- YES, the Elizabeth River and connecting cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth and Va Beach have to be some of the mildest waters in the Carolina regions. We are SO mild in winter that it is hard for northerners- Northern Virginians and Marylanders, etc, to believe what we grow here. We are between a zone 8a and 8b here.

Gaylord Focker said...

Hey man you think this weather this winter may have any influence on the migration?

Anonymous said...

I've wondered if alligators would be in southern Virginia or even up to the regions of the James River (we're actually sitting here watching The New World with Colin Ferrell, and I'm looking at the landscape wondering if we're going to see any in the water or on the banks...).

I guess ultimately at the end of the day, it's not much good debating or theorizing as to WHY they could/should be in southern Virginia - it will ultimately come down to when we actually start seeing them out and about in the wild.

Anonymous said...

One thing I've noticed are increased sightings of the brown pelican along the VA/MD/DE coastal area. Years ago, you never saw them. If they are moving north with warming temperatures, why not other species?

Anonymous said...

I need to say, yes there are alligators in Virginia. I had a close encounter with one today. I was on a paddle board at the Great Bridge Locks & thought I had spotted a good size turtle so I paddled over to it for a closer look only to have the life scared out of me! It was a alligator & not a small one. It was just hanging out with its head out of the water. I was terrified as I paddled out of there as fast as I could. For anyone that doubts me please feel free to launch your paddle board from the boat ramp (behind kelly's) & see if you find him, I will not go there again.... EVER!!

Roland Dooley said...

i have lived in suffolk all my life i have never seen a gator in the swamp but i have heard the older people talk about seeing them here

Anonymous said...

I am pleased to see that I am not the only person in the world today who believes that animals/plants may actually not obey the "academic certified" boundaries declared by the arrogant elites who enjoy the power that comes with definitively drawing a line in the sand with their name on it. Its not like these are sasquatch sightings, its simply an animal known to exist only a few miles south of the Va border, and is often seen north of it. Its very likely that the increased sightings in recent years are due to an increasing alligator population throughout the Southeast. Since alligators have been given protection after nearly becoming extinct only a few decades ago, the national population has dramatically increased. This has resulted more frequent sightings throughout their traditional range, as well as many outside of their "academically accepted" range. In fact, the numbers have increased so much than a few states such as Georgia have now legalized hunting of gators again. As this continues, it is reasonable to expect many areas such as SE Va to begin having more "permanent" populations. These areas are likely within the true historical range of Alligators, long before their numbers started decreasing. Simply put, they're coming home.

Obviously winter weather and habitat does play a role, but in areas like SE Va, this probably means that the numbers will never match the population density of somewhere warmer like Florida, but a smaller population certainly could exist. This is also a likely reason for why it would have been easier for alligators to have been extirpated long ago from these 'fringe" areas. I grew up in the deep south, but in the Piedmont region. The general consensus is that alligators are not found above the fall line in AL,GA..etc. However sightings were frequent in the past, and I would assume they will only increase in the future. In that area, its not winter so much as the lack of swamp habitat and slow moving rivers. But it does exist in a few places north of the fall line. Most of these swamps are passed off as man made lakes produced from dams or retention ponds. However what is often overlooked is the fact that beavers were basically extirpated in much of the south many years ago, and were reintroduced. Beavers create natural lakes, and swamps north of the fall line. The loss of beaver created swamp along with the logging industry in the 19th century may have played a role in the loss of alligators in that area which were most likely never as numerous as in the coastal plain. Of course all of this isn't necessarily what happened, but it is important to always keep an open mind, because it may very well be the truth. It is very dangerous for any society to become obsessed with the definitive absolutes which are too often found in the prominent positions in the scientific and academic world, and especially the internet. If anyone doesn't believe that the Southeastern United States might have been a very different place in the past in terms of wildlife, then do a google searh about the Carolina Parakeet, which was a native parrot known throughout the Eastern US, that went extinct about 100 years ago. Yet another example of an animal known to the tropics that was able to tolerate the colder winters of the US, however most people today have never heard of it.

Nice essay and keep up the good work!

Kim said...

Yesterday, I was on Damneck (Navy Base in Virginia Beach). As I walked to the water line of a large inland pond I saw a dead, aprox. 3ft long alligator! It prompted me to come to this site to see if there are any other reports of alligator sightings in this area. There was no question as to what I was looking at!

Anonymous said...

I am pleased to see that I am not the only person in the world today who believes that animals/plants may actually not obey the "academic certified" boundaries declared by the arrogant elites who enjoy the power that comes with definitively drawing a line in the sand with their name on it. Its not like these are sasquatch sightings, its simply an animal known to exist only a few miles south of the Va border, and is often seen north of it. Its very likely that the increased sightings in recent years are due to an increasing alligator population throughout the Southeast. Since alligators have been given protection after nearly becoming extinct only a few decades ago, the national population has dramatically increased. This has resulted more frequent sightings throughout their traditional range, as well as many outside of their "academically accepted" range. In fact, the numbers have increased so much than a few states such as Georgia have now legalized hunting of gators again. As this continues, it is reasonable to expect many areas such as SE Va to begin having more "permanent" populations. These areas are likely within the true historical range of Alligators, long before their numbers started decreasing. Simply put, they're coming home.

Obviously winter weather and habitat does play a role, but in areas like SE Va, this probably means that the numbers will never match the population density of somewhere warmer like Florida, but a smaller population certainly could exist. This is also a likely reason for why it would have been easier for alligators to have been extirpated long ago from these 'fringe" areas. I grew up in the deep south, but in the Piedmont region. The general consensus is that alligators are not found above the fall line in AL,GA..etc. However sightings were frequent in the past, and I would assume they will only increase in the future. In that area, its not winter so much as the lack of swamp habitat and slow moving rivers. But it does exist in a few places north of the fall line. Most of these swamps are passed off as man made lakes produced from dams or retention ponds. However what is often overlooked is the fact that beavers were basically extirpated in much of the south many years ago, and were reintroduced. Beavers create natural lakes, and swamps north of the fall line. The loss of beaver created swamp along with the logging industry in the 19th century may have played a role in the loss of alligators in that area which were most likely never as numerous as in the coastal plain. Of course all of this isn't necessarily what happened, but it is important to always keep an open mind, because it may very well be the truth. It is very dangerous for any society to become obsessed with the definitive absolutes which are too often found in the prominent positions in the scientific and academic world, and especially the internet. If anyone doesn't believe that the Southeastern United States might have been a very different place in the past in terms of wildlife, then do a google searh about the Carolina Parakeet, which was a native parrot known throughout the Eastern US, that went extinct about 100 years ago. Yet another example of an animal known to the tropics that was able to tolerate the colder winters of the US, however most people today have never heard of it.

Nice essay and keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

If you follow Hwy 13 across the NC border into a small town called Whaleyville you'll cross a small bridge just before entering the town proper. There is a state sign warning not to feed the alligators. I'd say that's proof positive there are alligators living in Virginia.

Anonymous said...

Any new info? I love reading about this stuff

Anonymous said...

Like the paddleoarder above, I have seen an alligator near the locks in Great Bridge. It was laying against a mud bank in a canal (ditch?) about a quarter mile east of kellys. I was kayaking at the time with a friend and we were astonished. It was 5-6 feet long, at least. This was in 2011... I was very glad to see this post because everyone we told about it thinks we are full of b.s.