Can Alligators Climb Fences

Can Alligators Climb Fences?

Most of the time, a good fence will protect you from a predator but what happens when that predator just climbs over the fence?

Many people who live in alligator country wonder, “Can alligators climb fences?”

This answer might come as a shock to you.

Yes, alligators can climb fences (particularly chain link) but there are some stipulations to that.

Can Alligators Climb Fences?

There have been plenty of reports of alligators climbing fences. They are best at climbing chain link fences because they are the easiest to hang onto.

However, there are also reports of alligators climbing wooden fences if the pickets are spaced apart enough.

Clearly, it would be difficult for an alligator to climb a wooden fence with tightly placed pickets. In fact, that would be difficult for a person to climb!

But if those pickets are spaced about a few inches apart, alligators can grab on easily and climb on over.

Why Would An Alligator Climb A Fence?

This is kind of like asking, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

Of course, you know the answer to that is “to prove to the opossum that it could be done.”

Alligator under dock. Photo by Jeff Gray

So, when we ask, “Why would an alligator climb a fence?”…

The bigger question is, “Why not?”

Sometimes, alligators just need to cross from one area to another. People frequently put up fences that shrink the habitats of the alligators. So, they have to cross over if they want to roam.

During mating season “the burgeoning alligator mating season and warming spring might be to blame for reports of Floridians [and other residents of the southeastern United States] seeing more of the huge reptiles coming out to roam. FWC told Newsweek that during the spring alligators also become more active due to the rising temperatures. “[T]heir metabolism increases, and they begin seeking prey items,” they said.


Other times, there is something on the other side of the fence that alligators want. And that will usually be food.

Alligators are generally carnivorous, but autopsies of dead animals show that they also eat fruits such as wild grapes, citrus fruits, and elderberries growing in their habitat.


How High Can Alligators Climb?

Alligators can climb a 5-foot chain-link fence easily.

“These prehistoric powerhouses are also known to climb ladders, staircases, trees, and even fences! All they need is enough of an incline to pull themselves up. This means if anyone is ever out looking for alligators in the water, they may want to look up.”


So, if you want to keep alligators out of your yard, you will want to build your fence over 5-feet tall.

Better yet, build a tightly picketed, tall, wooden fence that alligators can’t grab onto.

Another option would be a metal fence with vertical “pickets”. These types of fences are difficult to grab because the pickets are thin and slick (unlike wood).

FYI: Alligators can climb trees too!

other alligator facts

Alligators are fast on land and in water. They can swim faster than Michael Phelps and run faster than Usain Bolt.

Alligators will eat your dog if given the chance. You have been warned.

Alligators can stay underwater for a long time. A shockingly long time.

Alligators are not dinosaurs. Even though they look prehistoric.

Alligators are one of several dangerous animals in Arkansas.

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