Alligators at Circle B Bar Reserve in Florida

On our trip to Florida this past June, we had a nice visit at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, about a 45 minute drive from the area around Walt Disney World. You can read more about our trip in posts tagged with Circle B Bar Reserve.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we found the reserve because they have a cow camp recreation. But once we got there, we found something that interested us even more than that. We first went to the Discovery Center, where a volunteer greeted us. She asked if we were from the area, and when she found out we were from out of state, she said, “Well I suppose that you want to see the alligators. That’s why most people come here.” We immediately forgot all about the cow camp and decided to see if we could see some alligators.

The volunteer did say, “Don’t worry, we haven’t had any incidents. Yet.” As if to say that hopefully we wouldn’t be the first one. She did say that if an alligator was on the path, it would probably go off into the water if it saw us. And if not, we should just back up slowly. With that information in mind, we set off on our adventure.

And what an adventure it was - we saw 20 alligators! Here are just a few of them.

Alligators at Circle B Bar Reserve in Florida

Almost all of the alligators we saw were down in the water. None were actually on the path, but one or two were sunning themselves in the grass until they saw us come along. Many of them were hard to see at first, as you can see from this photo that they blend in a good bit with their surroundings. If you can’t find him, he is pretty much in the center of the photo with his eyes and nose sticking out of the water.

Alligators at Circle B Bar Reserve in Florida

Here is another one that is a bit more out of the water. This one looked to be relatively small. And by that, I mean that he was probably four feet long or so. One of the things we read in the Discovery Center said that you can estimate the length of an alligator in feet based on the distance between its eyes and nostrils in inches. In other words, if the distance between its eyes and nostrils is four inches, the alligator is around four feet long. Of course, we didn’t get close enough to any of these to get out a ruler and take measurements. We were content enough to just guess as best we could.

Alligators at Circle B Bar Reserve in Florida

This alligator was one of the largest ones that we saw, as you might can tell. He also looked to be a good bit wider than the others, which I would guess indicates an advanced age as compared to the other two. But I’m no alligator expert, so you might want to check with someone else before taking that as fact. It could be that he had eaten more tourist than the others had. I’m just joking. They probably have all eaten the same amount of tourist. Which I hope would be none.

Alligators at Circle B Bar Reserve in Florida

This is actually a different view of the same alligator from the previous photo. I liked both of the photos, so I thought I would include them both. This one must have been their model alligator who had been taught the best way to pose for the cameras.

Alligators at Circle B Bar Reserve in Florida

Here is one more photo, this time of a different alligator. As you can see once again, he blends in with his surroundings rather well. But I liked that his tail was slightly out of the water, so that you could get a better idea of how long he was. He was either saying, “Take one more picture and I’ll come over there and bite your camera,” or “I wish you people would move on so that I could go back to sleep.”

Those were just some of the alligators that we saw on our visit to Circle B Bar Reserve. Many of the others were difficult to photograph, either because they were too far away or because there was too much growth between us and them. And we might have been able to see even more than the 20 that we saw, but it started to rain, and we decided that we decided to head back to the car to stay as dry as we could after getting caught in a couple of rain showers.

Finding the alligators took a good bit of patience, if you are wondering. It helped to have three sets of eyes looking, and Jaylin often found them first. We got to the point where we would stand still and look at each small water body, just to see if we could see an alligator in there, and often we could. It wasn’t a place to just run through and see some gators here and there. We had to make a conscious effort to find them. But we never did feel threatened by any of the ones that we saw. Laura may have felt a little threatened by the big one that rolled off of his sunny spot and into the water when he saw us, just like you see in the nature movies, but he didn’t come after us at all.

While we were free to walk on the path known as “Alligator Alley,” another path was closed because the female alligators were nesting there at the time, and nesting females are more aggressive, as you might imagine. We didn’t have to be told twice to stay away from there.

Whenever we are in Florida, I often find myself looking along the side of the road or in watery areas to see if there are any alligators there, because that is something that we don’t usually have at home. We don’t usually see any, but that wasn’t the case here.

We all enjoyed our visit to Circle B Bar Reserve to see some of these fascinating creatures up close. But not too close.

About the photo:
Each photo is a single RAW exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about the photo software and gear I use at the camera gear page.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus 14-42mm IIR

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.