can alligators climb trees

Can Alligators Climb Trees? [YES!]

Recently, I learned that alligators can climb fences. This came as a huge shock considering alligators look like big, slow dinosaurs.

I’ve seen several unexpected animals climb fences (like raccoons and opossums) but I’ve never seen an alligator do this!

This made me wonder. Can alligators climb trees? If you’re wondering the same thing, then you’re in the right place.

Beware of Alligators in trees!
Beware of Alligators! Photo by Jeff Gray

Let’s explore this question because the answer is very shocking!

Can Alligators Climb Trees?

It seems like a tree would be harder for an alligator to climb than a standard chain link fence because it’s more difficult to grab onto. I mean, I can climb a chain link fence simply by grabbing on with my hands and placing my feet in the voids.

This is basically what an alligator does but a tree is a different story.

As it turns out, alligators can climb extremely high in trees depending on the size of the gator and the shape of the tree!

I hope I’m not the only one who is surprised by this. I would never expect to look up and see an alligator over my head!

The truth is, both alligators and crocodiles can climb trees. Supposedly, they have been found as high as six feet off the ground.

Of course, juvenile alligators can climb even higher than that!

Juveniles have been spotted as high as 30 feet.


By the way, have you ever seen a baby alligator?

Why Do Alligators Climb Trees?

Researchers have concluded that one reason why alligators climb trees is to bask in the sunshine and this makes a lot of sense.

When alligators are in locations where there are few places to bask on the ground, they will climb a tree and lie on a sturdy limb in the sunshine. However, if they get startled or feel threatened, they will dive right off into the water.

Another reason why alligators might climb trees is to get a good look at the surrounding area. This might help them hunt or spot other gators nearby.

How Do Alligators Climb Trees?

If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you’re probably picturing an alligator easily scaling a tree that’s standing perfectly vertical in the air.

Well, that’s not how it happens.

Alligators most likely cannot climb a perfectly vertical tree. What alligators prefer are trees that are bent over the water.

They are easier to climb and make perfect places to bask in the warm sun!

And while most laypeople would be startled to see one of the large reptiles on a tree branch, tree-climbing is actually “surprisingly common” behavior for alligators and crocodiles, according to a 2014 study published in the journal Herpetology Notes.


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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