The state of Tennessee should be prepared for a fresh arrival of wild visitors. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has given confirmation that alligators and cougars are moving into the territory.
The TWRA has noted the situation in their Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide for the 2019/2020 season. The Agency has stated in the guide, “There is evidence cougars and alligators are expanding their territories into Tennessee. Species expanding their ranges into Tennessee are protected and may not be taken until a hunting season is proclaimed. Alligators and cougars are protected by state laws in Tennessee.”
The Hunting and Trapping Guide also made it clear that it’s against the law to kill other protected species. Owls, hawks, and songbirds are among those preserved species. Other species like snakes that don’t have designated hunting seasons are also under protection.
“Alligators are naturally expanding their range into Tennessee from the southern border states. TWRA has not stocked any alligators in Tennessee. Alligators expanding into Tennessee is just another species that we must learn to coexist with like many of the other southern states,” says the TWRA.
In the past, there have been accounts of alligators around the Tennessee area. In March 2018, members at the Wildlife Resources Agency caught footage of an alligator around seven feet (2.1 meters) long by the Wolf River.
How do alligators handle in the Tennessee winter
Alligators are born with a natural proclivity to take advantage of whatever appropriate food sources they find. They typically feed on turtles, fish, snakes, frogs, and various aquatic birds such as ducks or geese. They sometimes also prey on bigger animals like raccoons, possums, or even deer. Alligators are capable of making in through the Tennessee winter by slipping into a type of hibernation state known as brumation. They can also endure the ice by keeping their snouts above the water before it freezes over, making it possible for them to breathe.