Are There Alligators on the Outer Banks?

The Outer Banks are teeming with wildlife, and if anecdotal stories are to be believed,that might also include alligators.  

There are alligators on the Outer Banks, however, for there to be one, there also needs to be a habitat for them. The Outer Banks is a coastal area with many waterways. This habitat may be suitable for alligators to thrive. There are alligators kept in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, and it is one of the most visited places in North Carolina.

Alligators are usually shy and reclusive, and they will not approach humans or houses without a good reason. Let’s take a detailed look at alligators and how they live, their  habits, and reports of attacks.

What Parts of North Carolina Have Alligators?

Alligators are mainly found in Eastern North Carolina. There is also a large population of alligators living on the coast from south of Duck to north of New Bern. All of these cities are between the two major rivers, the Neuse and the Pamlico.

However, they are not native to the Outer Banks, and there are no confirmed sightings of them in the area. 


How Big Do Alligators Get?

Alligators can grow to between four and fourteen feet in length and measure about a foot or more at the shoulder. Males, on average, tend to be larger than females. It is not uncommon for alligators to weigh up to five hundred pounds or more.

What Are the Threats of Alligators in North Carolina?

The main threat towards alligators is humans. Humans are mainly responsible for their habitat destruction and hunting them.

People have also been known to illegally keep alligators (and other reptiles) in their homes.  This is very dangerous because they release them when they get too big to handle, are no longer cute, or become ill.

Alligators in the wild will only attack humans when provoked, cornered, or startled. A recent attack in Florida ended with a swimmer being bitten by an alligator and dragged into the water. However, it is very rare for aggression to happen so freely.

In conclusion, alligators on the Outer Banks are not native to this area and will only be seen if they have escaped from a nearby wildlife refuge. While the Outer Banks may provide a suitable habitat for alligators, they prefer the waterways of eastern North Carolina. They are an uncommon sight, but they are occasionally seen by people who live on the water. 

Regardless of where you are, if you see an alligator, do not approach it or feed it. When fully mature, alligators can grow very large and weigh more than half a ton. They also have powerful jaws, which they use to grab and drown their prey. 

Have There Been Any  Alligator Attacks Noted in Outer Banks?

There have been alligator attacks noted in Outer Banks. Alligators are native to the North Carolina region, just not the specific areas of the Outer Banks. While there have been sightings, attacks near or on the Outer Banks are rare.

Are Alligator Attacks Common in Outer Banks?

Alligator attacks in Outer Banks are rare and usually only occur when someone is feeding them. It’s illegal to feed alligators, and if you’re caught, you may face a fine or jail time. 

Even though there is almost no  risk of an alligator attack in the Outer Banks, it’s still wise to use caution. If you see an alligator, do not approach it. They are wild animals that can be dangerous if they feel threatened or provoked.

Largest Alligators header

What is the Largest Alligator Recorded in Outer Banks?

While only moderately sized alligators have been sighted on the Outer Banks, a giant alligator was recorded in Lake Mattamuskeet. This monster was 17 feet long! It took three men to carry it back to their truck because it weighed over 1,000 pounds. This has been recorded as the biggest  alligator ever found in North Carolina.

Where Was the First Recorded Alligator Attack in Outer Banks?

The first recorded alligator attack was near Rodanthe on Hatteras Island, which occurred in 1749. The victim was a 15-year-old boy who was swimming with his dog. They were both attacked by an enormous alligator. 

The boy was killed and eaten by the gator, but his dog managed to swim back to shore. His father found the dog barking at a massive alligator on the beach later that day.

Is Outer Banks an Ideal Place for Alligators?

Outer Banks is not an ideal place for alligators. Alligators are native to the east coast of North Carolina, not the Outer Banks. They mostly live in freshwater but can be found in brackish water, so you might see one on the Outer Banks. 

There are wild areas near extensive marshes that allow alligators to live within their borders.

While Outer Banks is not an ideal place for alligators, you can still see them in the place. If you desire to stay somewhere near the Alligator River, I recommend the following properties:

Aunt Vid’s Cottage2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
Clemons Cottage2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
Starry Banner1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms
Sounds-Fishy3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
Downtowner1 bedroom, 1 bathroom

Are Alligators Attracted to Humans?

Alligators are not attracted to humans and only attack when they feel threatened or provoked. They will sometimes go after dogs because dogs can be seen as a threat to their young.

If you are on the water, keep your eyes open for alligators. Even though they are not common in these areas, there have been sightings of them on the Outer Banks before; if you see an alligator while boating or swimming, do not approach it and never feed it.

Never approach or provoke a wild animal because doing so could be dangerous.


Alligators can be an alarming animal, especially with their size and look; however, chances of meeting an alligator in the Outer Banks are rarer than you think. Alligators prefer to live in freshwater, and the Outer Banks is mainly made up of brackish water.

You can view them in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern North Carolina if you want to see alligators. This park gives visitors a great look at alligators up close and even allows people to boat through their habitat.

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