Essay

5 Largest Alligators Ever Found in Mississippi

With its lush marshes, winding rivers, and one of the most impressive and ancient creatures in the animal kingdom—the American alligator—Mississippi is a stunning southern state. These massive, extinct river creatures can reach astounding proportions. An American alligator may occasionally grow to be 15 feet long and 1,000 pounds in weight! However, to what extent do they grow in Mississippi? See the top five biggest alligators ever discovered in Mississippi!

1. Longest Male Alligator: 14 Feet, 3 Inches

On August 25, 2023, as night fell, Donald Woods and his hunting companions headed down the Yazoo River. Even though there were many gators out that evening, these skilled hunters had a far larger target in mind. They knew it was their gator as soon as they spotted its massive head and wide back along the water’s surface. The crew managed to catch the enormous gator at around 9 p.m., but it took them a few more hours to get their prize.

The massive alligator was vexing his human predators by ripping off hook after hook and scurrying behind logs. Even though their reels burned out and some of their rods snapped, they persisted. Woods and his team managed to lift the enormous lizard onto their boat at approximately four in the morning. With its official lengths recorded at 14 feet, 3 inches, the 802.5-pound alligator was the largest ever discovered in Mississippi, according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP)!

2. Second Longest Male Alligator: 14 feet, ¾ Inches

While hunting along the Mississippi River in 2017, Brian Burnside and his group, the Muddy Water Maniacs, managed to catch a huge alligator. Using a rod, reel, and snatch hook, the enormous alligator, which weighed 766.5 pounds, was captured. It measured 69 inches around the belly and 43 inches around the tail. Up to Woods’ 2023 catch, the enormous alligator had the state record for a full six years.

3. Heaviest Male Alligator: 826 Pounds

At 826 pounds, the largest male alligator ever discovered in Mississippi was discovered! Kennie Crechale, using a private-lands permission on David Island, caught it in Morton in 2015. Not only was the enormous alligator heavy, but it was the first one in Mississippi history to be measured at more than 14 feet in length! The alligator was fourteen feet and five inches long. It measured 68 inches around the belly and 48 inches around the tail.

4. Longest Female Alligator: 10 Feet, 2 Inches

On the Pearl River in August 2022, two Madison gator hunters named Jim and Richie Denson caught a massive alligator. At ten feet and two inches, their catch proved to be the longest female alligator ever captured in Mississippi. The same alligator, known as “Yellow 410,” was killed in 2009 and was thought to have been between 75 and 100 years old. In addition, she was among the longest-lived female alligators ever seen in the wild.

5. Heaviest Female Alligator: 319 Pounds

Craig Jones of Mendenhall grabbed the largest female alligator discovered in Mississippi in 2015 at Eagle Lake. The massive female was nine feet and eleven inches in length and weighed 319 pounds. Her belly and tail girths measured 47 and 37 inches, respectively. She was also only three inches shorter than the longest female alligator ever discovered in Mississippi, standing at nine feet, eleven inches.

How Many Alligators Live in Mississippi?

The American alligator, or Alligator mississippiensis, is a native of the country’s southeast. In Mississippi, the southern two thirds of the state are where it is most prevalent. But the alligator population in the state almost completely vanished in the 1960s! Thankfully, regulations safeguarding them as Endangered Species led to a gradual stabilisation of their population.

An essential component of Mississippi’s ecosystems are alligators. As apex predators, they control the numbers of smaller animals. By excavating “gator holes,” they also contribute to the creation of habitats for fish, crustaceans, and amphibians.

According to current estimates, there are between 32,000 and 38,000 alligators in Mississippi, and state officials keep a close eye on the species’ numbers throughout the entire state. Jackson County is home to about 24% of Mississippi’s alligator population. Though American alligators were taken off the Endangered Species list, Mississippi still has lesser alligator numbers than many other southern states.

The first deer hunting season in Mississippi was established in 2005, and it is still heavily restricted today. In Mississippi, alligator hunting aids in population control in regions where gators are overpopulated. In order to hunt alligators lawfully in Mississippi, you need to get an MDWFP permit. Furthermore, hunting for alligators is only permitted in officially authorised places. Illegal operations that involve poaching alligators and their eggs or disrupting their nests are punishable by steep fines, which can reach several thousand dollars.

Highlights of the Largest Alligators Ever Found in Mississippi:

Record Length Weight Caught/Measured
Longest male alligator 14 feet, 3 inches 802.5 pounds 2023
Second longest male alligator 14 feet, 3/4 inches 766.5 pounds 2017
Heaviest male alligator  14 feet, 1/4 inches 826 pounds 2015
Longest female alligator 10 feet, 2 inches 193 pounds 2022
Heaviest female alligator 9 feet, 11 inches 319 pounds 2015