Alligators are native to the Gulf Coastal Plain of southeastern Oklahoma, occurring in the Red and Little River systems of Choctaw, McCurtain, Bryan and Love counties.
Sightings of alligators have increased over the past decade, mainly in the Little River drainage systems. On the Red Slough, alligators live on reclaimed rice farms that are part of 2,500 acres of wetlands on the 7,600-acre wildlife management area.
Nocturnal surveys of alligators are taken each year. Only seven adults were seen last April, but state wildlife officials think as many 15 adult gators live on the Red Slough, said Richard Beagles, biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
A creek runs through the Red Slough that also leads to a lake and the Red River, he said. Alligators move up and down the Red River corridor, he said.
Southeastern Oklahoma is on the western edge of the alligator’s home range, said Tim Patton, associate professor of biology at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.