Dismal swamp biologist Wrote:
> Alligators have actually been spotted in the
> intercoastal waterways just south of lake Drummond
> in NC. Like feral hogs and the coyote, alligators
> are venturing further outside their historic
> ranges each year. Perhaps in a decade or so VA
> will really have gators if the global warming
> keeps up!
Alligators have inhabited southeastern Virginia for centuries. Yes they are really here and arguably always have been. Next summer, take a canoe trip down the Northwest River in Chesapeake and I can almost 100% guarantee you will see the gators and/or their slides. The microclimate in that area is actually a little warmer than it is 15-20 miles south in NC where there is an acknowledged breeding population. If you do plan a canoe expedition, keep it slow and quiet, and pay attention because snapping turtles will make a big splash also.
Wikipedia acknowledges alligators currently in Virginia:
American alligators are found in the wild in the Southeastern United States, from the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and North Carolina, south to Everglades National Park in Florida, and west to the southern tip of Texas, as well as the northern border region of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. They are found in parts of Virginia
, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. In 2018, several sightings of animals that had moved north into West Tennessee were confirmed.
Alligators are photographed and caught in Virginia fairly regularly but the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries typically dismisses them as escaped pets. The Department treats mountain lion sightings similarly, saying "they were just passing through." It's unclear why state wildlife officials are reluctant to officially acknowledge the alligators, perhaps to avoid additional regulatory burden.
Regardless of whether or not there is a breeding population, there have been alligators in Northern Virginia in Aquia Creek and Accokeek Creek: