Circle B Bar Reserve is famed for its robust population of alligators. Amazing to think that because of overhunting, the American Alligator was one of the first species listed with the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1967 (which was replaced by the Endangered Species Act in 1973). Thankfully, the species rebounded so well they were removed from the ESA in 1987.

As I strolled the trails I kept my eyes peeled for gators, especially once I started down Alligator Alley. With the exception of one large (and putrid-smelling) carcass all I saw were juveniles. There was one thing that gave me pause (look closely at the photo below):

Did you see the wet duckweed that slid off the gator? The large tail drag in the center? The foot and claw scratches in the lower right?

I could only guess at the size of this animal as I never did find it in the thick foliage. To be honest, I didn’t hang out that long looking for it, knowing it was mobile and nearby made me a bit uneasy. Especially since it’s the middle of breeding season.

Categories: Observations

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