An alligator protecting its nest at Circle B Bar Reserve in 2018. | Wikimedia Commons

Two trails at Circle B Bar Reserve have been closed to keep visitors safe during alligator nesting season.

Polk County closed the Marsh Rabbit Run trail and a portion of the Alligator Alley trail.  According to Parks and Natural Resources Division staff, at least two alligators have built nests and laid eggs near the trails.

Circle B Bar Reserve is a 1,267-acre Polk County and Southwest Florida Water Management District Environmental Land site located on the northwest shores of Lake Hancock in Central Polk County.

In a news release, the county’s Parks and Natural Resources Division said the closing of the trails is “temporary and necessary for the safety of our visitors and resident wildlife.”

Marsh Rabbit Run is expected to remain closed until September. Alligator Alley is closed for about 3/4 of a mile from the lake dock to Heron Hideout, but visitors may still access the dock on Lake Hancock by taking the Shady Oak trail to Alligator Alley.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: “Females build a mound nest of soil, vegetation, or debris and deposit approximately 32 to 46 eggs in late June or early July. Incubation requires approximately 60-65 days, and hatching occurs in late August or early September.”

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Cindy Glover moved to Lakeland in 2021 after spending two decades in South Florida. Her career has included journalism, education, digital marketing and public relations. She worked for the Albuquerque Journal and South Florida Sun-Sentinel and spent a year as a community engagement coordinator for the City of Lakeland before joining LkldNow.

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