HomeOutdoorsNewsFlorida Man Bitten by Alligator While Washing His Hands in a Pond

Florida Man Bitten by Alligator While Washing His Hands in a Pond

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Alex Pankratov via Getty Images)

From a young age, Floridians learn that the bodies of freshwater across the Sunshine State are hazardous to their health. Florida is home to around 1.25 million alligators, roughly a quarter of the entire gator population of the United States. And though these ancient reptiles aren’t quite the man-hunting monsters Hollywood would have you believe, they’re not the sort of animal you ever want to test your luck against, either.

Unfortunately, one Arkansas construction worker didn’t have the alligator awareness with which his Florida-native companions were raised and received a nasty bite as a result. Though Arkansas does have gators, it houses a mere 3,000 of the massive predators, making them far less of a threat to swimmers and passersby.

After a hard morning of work under the brutal Florida sun, the worker wandered over to a nearby pond, hoping to dip his hands in the water for a cool refreshment. Kneeling down by the water’s edge, the man dunked his hands in the soothing water, washing the dust and debris from his calloused fingers.

Before he was able to stand and back away from the pond, however, a giant 9-foot alligator latched onto his right arm, sinking its razor-sharp teeth into his flesh.

Worker Rushed to Hospital Following Alligator Attack

Screaming in pain and horror, the man desperately fought to free himself from the gator’s lethal grip. After a brief struggle, the worker successfully wrenched his arm out of the alligator’s mouth, quickly backing away to the safety of dry land.

Those on the scene rushed to his aid, one applying a tourniquet to his gushing arm while another called 911 for assistance. EMS workers soon arrived on the scene, loading the man into an ambulance and transporting him to a nearby hospital for treatment.

“He’s a big guy, he said his arm was hurting pretty good,” Fire Chief Tim Barrett told Fox4. “But he’s a pretty tough old boy. Lost a lot of blood, but he’s fine.”

Even in Florida, alligator attacks are exceedingly rare. Sadly, however, when they do happen, they result in not only serious injury for the victim but euthanasia for the gator as well.

Around three hours after the attack, wildlife officials retrieved the gator from the pond using a method not dissimilar to fishing. “Sometimes they will use a big hook, and a large piece of meat and throw it out there and catch him,” Chief Barrett said.

Gator Responsible for Attack Euthanized

As the gator has already attacked someone, it cannot simply be rehoused. After capturing the alligator, Florida Fish and Wildlife put it to sleep.

Though necessary under the circumstances, euthanasia is a last-resort course of action and one wildlife officials do not take lightly. The most common reason for wildlife attacks of any kind is desensitization to humans through feeding, closely followed by accidental or purposeful harassment of the animal.

As such, Chief Barrett warned Florida locals and visitors alike to exercise caution around bodies of fresh water. Never feed an alligator and maintain a 30-foot distance at minimum from the aquatic leviathans at all times to avoid unintentionally frightening or threatening them. “Pretty much every body of water has an alligator in it, including some swimming pools,” Chief Barrett said.