New Orleans is known for its swampy land, humid weather, and Louisiana Swamp Tours! But if you are coming to New Orleans expecting to see an Alligator around every corner, you must think again.
Southern Louisiana may have the most alligators in the United States, but there are some tips and tricks you will need to know to find alligators. Louisiana’s alligator population is around 1 million, and spotting them in the Big Easy is a great way to spend a day.
Most guests will need to explore to see an Alligator, but I will help you find the best ways to see an alligator or two while you spend time in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.
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Where to see alligators in New Orleans?
There are many places to see Alligators in New Orleans, but City Park is the best place to see Louisiana alligators in the wild. With the different lagoons and waterways, alligators are in their natural habitat inside the city at City Park. These wild alligators can be found in various spots of the park.
Are there alligators in the Mississippi River in New Orleans?
The Mississippi River is not ideal for an alligator, but there is always a chance to spot one. The fast-moving water is not a suitable habitat for alligators since alligators enjoy marshes, swamps, and bayous. If an alligator is sighted on the river, and he is in the water, you can bet he won’t be around for long!
Is it safe to hold a baby alligator?
If you see baby gators out in the wild, do not pick them up and hold them. They might be cute and docile, but the mother alligator is nearby and may strike you. Holding a baby alligator is only safe if you are on a swamp boat tour or heading to the incubator on the Northshore.
What time of day are you most likely to see an alligator?
Alligators generally feed and dusk or night hours. If you are looking for an alligator, dusk is a great time to try and see an alligator coming out to feed.
How do I spot an alligator?
Alligators spend most of their time sunbathing on a sunny day. If you want to see an alligator nearby, check out large indentations or gouges in the ground. You will also see sliding marks where the alligators entered the water. If the marks look fresh, there is a good chance an alligator is nearby.
Finding Alligators In New Orleans
Even though most tourists will spend their time in Downtown New Orleans, the French Quarter, and Bourbon Street – where you will not find any alligators – you still have a chance to find a wild alligator if you venture closer to the Louisiana swamps.
Finding an Alligator in the wild can be difficult if you do not know where to look. There are a few alligator habitats throughout the city, but an excellent place to make sure you see alligators is by taking an alligator swamp tour.
Finding an Alligator in City Park
City Park is one of the best places to see native wildlife, like alligators. Most alligators in City Park are smaller than five feet because the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries relocates the larger ones. To find an alligator, wander around the lagoons North of I-610 to go gator finding.
If you try to find an alligator south of I-610, you will have a hard time because most of the alligators are relocated since locals and tourists wildly visit this area. City Park is a beautiful place to spend the day, but nearby Bayou St John may give you an easier time with alligator sightings.
My Favorite place to see alligators is in the pond located underneath The Louisiana Children’s Museum. Make sure to keep an eye on small children while in this area!
Bayou St. John
Bayou St. John, located close to City Park, is a waterway known for its diverse wildlife, including alligators. They can often be spotted sunbathing along the banks or gliding silently through the calm waters of the Bayou. Don’t be too alarmed.
You will see plenty of people kayaking and paddleboarding in the Bayou at any time of the year. If you don’t intentionally aggravate the alligators, this is the ideal place to live among the Gators.
Their presence in the Bayou demonstrates the resilience of nature in an urban setting. These alligators come up from Lake Pontchartrain and swim around the Bayou. There are even adorable alligator crossing warning signs by the Bayou. There are even adorable alligator crossing warning signs by the Bayou.
Spotting an Alligator in a canal
There are canals throughout Metairie and Kenner, and spotting an alligator in a canal can be an exhilarating experience – as long as you are a safe distance away!
New Orleans and the surrounding areas are filled with canals, and sometimes an alligator will find its way into a canal. The only time I’ve found an alligator close to my house was in the 90s, with an alligator on a neighbor’s front porch.
The area flooded overnight, and the alligator was displaced out of the canal and onto his front porch. Talk about a shock!
Road Trip outside of New Orleans
Since New Orleans is more urban than a swamp, seeing an alligator here is an occurrence, but it might not happen while you are on your trip. The only way to ensure you see an alligator is if you get out of the city limits and go on a New Orleans Swamp tour!
You can choose from a ton of Swamp Tours; if you plan to go, the best time of year to go is during the mild winters or the Spring. You can still spot alligators in the Summer, but it might be too hot for humans!
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Honey Island Swap Tours in Slidell
Honey Island Swamp Tours in Slidell provide a captivating way to discover the area’s natural wonders, including the chance to see alligators. With expert guides leading the way, visitors can embark on a thrilling adventure through the bayous and swamps, learning about the unique ecosystem and other wildlife along the journey.
The tours offer a close-up view of alligators in their native habitat, giving participants a memorable and educational experience while ensuring the safety and conservation of these magnificent creatures. You may even get a glimpse of Big Foot or The Thing!
Honey Island Swamp Tours loves giving swamp tours in October.
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New Orleans Kayak Swamp tours
New Orleans Kayak Swamp Tours offer a unique and immersive experience to explore the swampy wilderness and potentially encounter alligators. Paddling through the serene waters of Manchac swamp in a kayak lets you get close to nature and observe alligators in their natural habitat.
Knowledgeable guides provide informative commentary about alligators, their habits, and the ecological importance of the swamp, ensuring a safe and educational adventure for participants of all skill levels.
This tour is perfect if you want to work out and visit Whitney Plantation.
Cajun Encounters Tours in Slidell
Cajun Encounters Tours in Slidell offer a fantastic opportunity to encounter alligators in their natural habitat. As you navigate the swamp’s waterways, you may spot a few gators basking in the sun or gliding stealthily through the murky waters.
Experienced guides provide insightful information about alligators, their behavior, and the unique ecosystem of the Honey Island Swamp, making the tour an educational and unforgettable adventure. The swamp covers at least 70,000 acres and is considered one of the most pristine swamps in the United States.
Other Animals in the Honey Island Swamp include alligators, raccoons, owls, wild boars, nutria, snakes, turtles, bald eagles, and black bears. Bring your binoculars because, hopefully, you will see lots of animals!
This tour is perfect if you want to tour on a smaller flat-bottom boat with only 22 people.
Get your tickets to Cajun Encounters Tours in Slidell now!
Cajun Pride Swamp Tours in Laplace
Cajun Pride Swamp Tours in Laplace offers an exciting opportunity to explore the fascinating world of Louisiana’s swamps and encounter alligators. With experienced guides leading the way, visitors can cruise through the scenic waterways, learning about the region’s rich history, diverse wildlife, and captivating folklore.
As you navigate the swamp, please keep your eyes peeled for alligators lurking in the waters or sunning themselves on the banks, providing a thrilling glimpse into their natural habitat. Cajun Pride Swamp Tours provides a memorable and educational adventure for nature enthusiasts of all ages.
This tour is perfect for seeing the swamp and Oak Alley plantation.
ZipNola in Laplace
ZipLine Nola is a unique experience where you can travel a half mile over a zip line to experience everything the Maurapas swap offers. With Suspension bridges, Elevated platforms, now is the time to zip around the swamp. It is a good idea to come in Late Spring or Fall to experience the zip line (and swamp) in pleasant weather.
This is perfect for the family that wants to do something a little more adventurous than a traditional boat tour.
Buy your tickets now if you dare!
Barataria Preserve at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park
If you want to go on a Louisiana Hiking Trail, then Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, near New Orleans, has a thriving population of alligators. Visitors can witness these prehistoric creatures in their natural environment through guided swamp tours or by exploring the park’s trails and boardwalks.
The alligators in the park are awe-inspiring, with their powerful bodies, armored skin, and menacing jaws. They can sunbathe on the banks, glide through the waters, or lurk beneath the vegetation.
With knowledgeable guides providing insights into their behavior and conservation, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve offers a memorable opportunity to observe the captivating allure of alligators.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park is perfect for those day trips when you do not want to pay an extra cost to see alligators!
Madere Marsh Boardwalk at Bayou Sauvage
The Madere Marsh Boardwalk at Bayou Sauvage, located near New Orleans, offers a unique and immersive experience to explore the last remaining marshland by Lake Ponchatrain. You can observe the diverse wildlife, including the possibility of encountering alligators
. As you stroll along the elevated boardwalk. The boardwalk provides a safe and protected vantage point to appreciate the natural habitat of the alligators and other creatures that call Bayou Sauvage home. It’s a beautiful opportunity for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers to observe migratory birds.
If you are in a hurry and want a guaranteed sighting of an alligator without going on a swamp tour or wandering around some
of the natural areas, there are a few places in and around New Orleans where you can spot a gator or two – but it will cost you!
Audubon Nature Institue Zoo
The Audubon Nature Institute Zoo in New Orleans is a popular attraction that allows visitors to see various animals, including alligators. While not their natural habitat, the zoo provides a controlled environment where visitors can observe alligators up close and learn about their biology, behavior, and conservation efforts.
The alligator exhibit at the zoo offers educational information, engaging displays, and sometimes even feeding demonstrations, providing a unique opportunity to appreciate these fascinating reptiles. The Audubon Nature Institute Zoo is a family-friendly destination that combines entertainment and education, allowing visitors to deepen their understanding of alligators and the importance of protecting their natural habitats.
One of my favorite things about the Audubon Zoo is spotting the albino alligator. White alligators are extremely rare and beat file. You can see the albino alligator lounging in his tank or slowly swimming around.
Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery in Covington
Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery in Covington, Louisiana, offers a unique educational experience centered around alligators. Visitors can learn about the life cycle of alligators, witness the hatching process of baby alligators, and even have the opportunity to hold and interact with them under the supervision of trained staff.
The ranch provides a safe and controlled environment to get up close and personal with these incredible creatures while promoting conservation and understanding. It’s a fascinating destination for children and adults interested in learning about alligators and their role in the Louisiana ecosystem.
Add some of these activities to your upcoming trip or staycation!
🚌 Take a 2-Hour City Sightseeing Bus Tour which is great way to learn about the history and romance of this magnificent city
🚢Experience Evening Jazz Boat Cruise with dinner while soaking in incredible views.
👻 Hear tales of vampires, voodoo, and witchcraft on this city walking tour of New Orleans’ French Quarter
🦸 Try Escape Room Adventure and test your problem-solving skills with fun and tactile challenges
⛰️ Go on a food tour and explore the history and culture of the area with an expert local guide while tasting regional specialties at some of the best restaurants around.
When is the best time to see Alligators in New Orleans?
Spring, Summer, and Fall are the best times to see an Alligator in New Orleans because alligators are not easy to find if the temperature drop below 70 degrees.
During the winter months, you can try to find an alligator on a sunnier warm day because they are trying to keep their body temperature up, since these large reptiles are cold blooded..
Alligator Safety Tips
If you are going out on your own, you need to know a few tips when searching for Alligators. You want to be safe and respect the American alligator in its natural habitat.
- Keep your distance: Maintaining a safe distance from alligators is crucial to avoid potential danger or provocation.
- Back away from the Hiss: If you hear an alligator hissing, it’s a sign of agitation or a warning. Back away slowly to ensure your safety.
- No Swimming in City Park: Avoid swimming in areas like City Park that alligators may inhabit, as it can increase the risk of encountering them.
- Avoid piles of twigs: Alligators may use piles of twigs or debris as hiding spots, so it’s best to steer clear of such areas to prevent accidental encounters.
- Basking alligator: Be cautious when approaching or encountering an alligator basking in the sun, as they may appear docile but can react defensively if threatened.
- Keep pets away: Keep your pets on a leash and away from alligator-prone areas to ensure their safety and prevent potential conflicts.
- Tell the park: If you spot an American alligator in a park or protected area, inform the park authorities or staff, so they can take appropriate measures and ensure the safety of visitors.
- Do not fish by an alligator: Fishing near alligators can attract them and increase the risk of confrontations, so it’s best to fish in areas where alligators are not present.
- Please do not feed the alligator: Feeding American alligators is illegal and dangerous, as it disrupts their natural behavior and can lead to aggressive behavior towards humans.
- Stay out of flood waters: During flood events, alligators may be displaced and become more aggressive when they feel threatened. It’s essential to stay out of flood waters to avoid potential encounters.
- Do not move an alligator: Never attempt to move an alligator yourself. It should be left to trained professionals who can handle the situation safely and appropriately.
- Call Wildlife and Fisheries: If you encounter a giant or nuisance American alligator (over 5 feet long), contact the Wildlife and Fisheries department to report the sighting and seek their guidance. Their numbers are 504-284-2030 and 800-256-2749 for the primary department.
Alligators in New Orleans
Now that you know everything about Alligators in the City of New Orleans, where do you plan on seeing your first alligator? Would you be brave enough to take one of the kayak tours or ziplines through the swamp, or would you instead visit the zoo and see the alligators safely behind glass?
What are some other places to see alligators outside of New Orleans?
Alligators are all over Louisiana. You can easily see alligators at The University of Lafayette in Lafayette, Creole Natural Trail in Lake Charles, and Baton Rouge.
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