Aside from the culture and food, one of the biggest draws to Breaux Bridge, Louisiana are the alligators. Lake Martin and the Atchafalaya Basin are home to thousands upon thousands of these large lizards. With nearly one million acres within its boundaries, the Atchafalaya Basin is a huge stretch of nearly untouched marsh, wetlands, swamps, and waterways that draws locals and tourists alike year after year. Many companies offer swamp tours on airboats to navigate the shallow waters more easily, and people are delighted at the sight of alligators.
Perhaps made more popular by TV shows such as “Swamp People,” alligators and the waters they live in have always been a part of life in Cajun country. Although the alligator population was once threatened, today their population rests at around 3 million. Poachers hunted the animal into endangered status, but Louisiana and other states worked hard to bring the population back up. Lake Martin is part of that population increase. It has a substantial nesting population, and during nesting season some of the nature trails are blocked off to prevent visitors from venturing onto the nesting grounds.
While the alligator may be the king of the reptiles at Lake Martin and the Atchafalaya Basin, they are not the only reptiles. Lake Martin and the basin are home to over 65 different species of reptiles, ranging from gargantuan alligator snapping turtles, to snakes (venomous and not) and smaller lizards.