KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — According to the newly released Hunting and Trapping Guide from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, alligators and cougars could be migrating to Tennessee,
"There is evidence cougars and alligators are expanding their territories into Tennessee. Species expanding their ranges into Tennessee are protected and may not be taken until a hunting season is proclaimed. Alligators and cougars are protected by state laws in Tennessee"
Biologists at TWRA said Alligators have been documented in the southwest corner of Tennessee. There has been one confirmed sighting by a TWRA employee.
"Alligators are naturally expanding their range into Tennessee from the southern border states. TWRA has not stocked any alligators in Tennessee. Alligators expanding into Tennessee is just another species that we must learn to coexist with like many of the other southern states," TWRA says.
Scientists said alligators can survive cold Tennessee winters by going into a hibernation-like dormancy called brumation. They can withstand periods of ice by sticking their snout out of the water before it freezes which allows them to continue breathing.
According to the TWRA website, there have been 10 confirmed sightings of cougars in multiple Tennessee counties.
Both the cougar and alligator are protected species and are illegal to kill.
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