Alligators in West Tennessee? Fayette County sightseeing may not be the last

Fayette County had a scaly visitor over the weekend in the form of an eight-foot alligator.

In what is the latest of several sightings, a seven to eight foot alligator was spotted in northern Fayette County on May 11. According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee can expect to see more of the large reptile in the coming years as commercial expansion and loss of wetlands continues.

The TWRA does not stock any alligators in Tennessee. Any you see in the wild are wild animals and dangerous. These are predators, so it should be noted that they are not to be engaged if you come across one.

Alligators are protected in Tennessee. This means any attempt at capturing or killing one is a violation of the law.

Since 2018, alligators have been spotted in Fayette County, Hardin County and Shelby County.

What do alligators eat?

Alligators are opportunistic feeders that primarily prey on fish, turtles, snakes, frogs and waterfowl. These animals will occasionally go for larger prey like racoons, possums and deer.

Can alligators survive in Tennessee?

They are able to survive Tennessee winters, so there is a good chance there may be an increase in the number spotted. Alligators engage in a process called brumation which is a hibernation-like dormancy. They are able to withstand periods of ice by sticking their snouts out of the water before it freezes.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Alligator found in West Tennessee: TWRA reports Fayette County sighting