Alligator Finds Home Along Paynes' Prairie Trail
But last week, park rangers decided mankind and mother nature were getting a little too close for comfort, and it's all because a mother alligator built her nest just feet from the walking trail.
The roughly 17 year old alligator weighs over 300 pounds, and gets pretty feisty if you get too close to her nest.
"Right now, with the extended drought period, this is the only water, so she came to where she can be close to the nest and next to water," said Dylan Gavagni, Assistant Park Ranger. "Generally, when we are not in a drought stress, they'll be out in the marsh."
So, park rangers decided the smart thing to do was close the walking trail.
"We don't want anybody to come in harm's way when this mother alligator was protecting her nest," said Gavagni.
But after talking it over with Fish and Wildlife officers, the park rangers decided the best thing for everyone involved, including the scaly one with sharp teeth was to re-open the walking trail, but to put up additional protection around the gator to keep people a safe distance away.
Now that they're opening the trail back up, people can actually come up and stand just feet away from her nest. It's a unique experience, but if she's not happy, the mother gator will let you know about it."
And if you want to see the mother alligator in her natural habitat, but can't make it out this weekend, park rangers say she'll be there all summer guarding her nest until the eggs hatch sometime in August.
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