Wildlife & Habitat

Small alligator on a log in the water

Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is a bottomland hardwood forest consisting of sloughs and bayous. The Refuge experiences varying degrees of water inundation throughout the year and harbors unique plant and animal communities adapted to the seasonal floods of the Mississippi delta.

  • American Alligator

    Small alligator on a log in the water

    Watch for this armored reptile  swimming or basking on logs and shorelines. When the weather is cold, alligators become dormant, and will burrow into the mud to wait for warmer conditions.

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  • Swallow-tailed kite

    Swallow-tailed Kite in flight

    This striking and rare raptor is considered one of the most threatened land birds currently without federal protection. Swallow-tailed kites rarely flap their wings during flight. Look for the distinctive black wingtips and forked tail and white head, shoulders and abdomen.

  • Ringed-sawback turtle

    Ringed Map Turtle

    Also called the ringed map turtle, this unique reptile is found only in the Pearl River and its major tributaries in Louisiana and Mississippi. This animal prefers wide rivers with strong currents and may be observed basking on logs or beaches. .

  • Gopher tortoise

    Gopher Tortoise

    The gopher tortoise is considered a “keystone species,” as its burrows provide shelter for many other species. It’s found in the dryer upland pine forests of the Refuge. Historically, southeast gopher tortoises roamed the once common, fire-maintained, longleaf pine forests of this region. The Refuge manages about 1000 acres of upland habitat by using controlled fire to maintain this now uncommon grassy pine forest habitat and the tortoise.

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  • Gulf sturgeon

    Gulf Sturgeon

    This “living dinosaur” can reach lengths of up to nine feet and weigh up to 300 lbs. The Gulf sturgeon spends much of its life in freshwater, but adult sturgeon typically migrate to feed in rich saltwater bays and estuaries in the fall, returning to their home river system in the spring to spawn. The Gulf sturgeon is listed as a federally endangered species and efforts are underway to understand this animal and conserve its habitat.

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