MS Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

Why Feeding Alligators is Illegal

Friday, August 12, 2016

Feeding alligators is illegal in Mississippi. Feeding alligators will condition wild alligators to associate humans and human activity with a source of food. The results can be very dangerous especially when unaware people are near a body of water where alligators have been fed. 

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) has received several complaints in recent weeks regarding people feeding alligators in multiple locations across the state. Multiple cases have been recently investigated by the MDWFP and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). One recent example required the MDWFP and the USFWS to euthanize several alligators that were conditioned to feeding from a bridge on a public road. The alligator carcasses will be used for educational purposes at National Wildlife Refuge offices. The MDWFP policy is to euthanize any alligator, regardless of size, that has been conditioned to hand-feeding because of the public safety liability created by the illegal feeding.

Alligators will naturally avoid humans and human activity. There has never been a documented alligator attack on a human in Mississippi. Feeding alligators is a tremendous risk to public safety.  In light of recent alligator attacks in Florida and South Carolina, the MDWFP is urging the public to call and report anyone who is feeding alligators or locations where people are known to feed alligators. 

Never throw food items, including discarding of fish parts around boathouses or boat ramps, into the waters where alligators are known to inhabit. To report information about anyone feeding alligators, please call the MDWFP 24 hour hotline at 1-800-BE-SMART or 1-800-237-6278. We do not need your name, just your information.   

For more information regarding alligators, visit our website at or call us at 601-432-2199. Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter at

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