Gators getting more active with warmer temperatures

Published 9:52 pm Sunday, April 24, 2022

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The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge’s American alligator population gets pretty static during the winter months; they are ectotherms (behavior regulated by outside temperature).

As spring brings warmer temperature, gators begin to move about.

They thermoregulate like other reptiles by basking in the sun and cooling down in the shade and water.

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“Activity is a relative term,” notes a USFWS press release. “To a gator being active might mean crawling up on a log for the day. In contrast, an active otter might involve running, swimming and sliding. As you explore Alligator River Refuge check canals and shorelines to see if you can spot an alligator.”

North Carolina residents and visitors who snap photos of wild alligators can share their observations with NC Wildlife Resources Commission biologists through the NC Alligators Project. Photos may be uploaded from a computer at or with the free iNaturalist app for Android and iPhone. View the step-by-step instruction guide at: