Florida Wildlife Expert Loses Arm in His Second Alligator Attack in Ten Years

by Chris Haney

Two weeks ago, a wildlife expert in Florida was attacked by a large alligator, which led to the man losing part of his arm. It was the second gator attack that Greg Graziani sustained over the last decade.

Graziani is the director of wildlife at Florida Gator Gardens in Venus, FL, northeast of Fort Myers. The wildlife expert has been working with reptiles almost his whole life since he was seven years old. But he works a dangerous job that’s at times unpredictable no matter how much training you have. In 2013, Graziani almost lost his right arm to another gator bite, but he made a full recovery. This time around, he wasn’t as lucky.

The wildlife park and botanical garden shared a lengthy post about Graziani’s recent incident on their Facebook account. It also posted photos of x-rays showing the damage done to his arm and hand. In fact, the alligator crushed his lower arm in the attack and co-workers rushed Graziani to the hospital.

Upon arriving, doctors discovered his hand dangling from one “tendon and some muscle that the surgeon had to untwist 6 times.” At first, surgeons reattached his lower arm, and since he had circulation doctors were hopeful of another full recovery. But this past Wednesday, doctors realized the arm would not recover. Surgeons performed a nine-hour operation that ended with “a below the elbow amputation preserving half of his forearm.”

“Any time you work with animals, there is always a risk,” the Facebook post read. “That is something Greg and the people who love him have always accepted. This incident could have just as easily been a fatal tragedy.”

The wildlife park didn’t share many details about the alligator attack itself. However, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is “actively investigating” the incident, officials said.

Authorities Capture Angry 7-Foot Alligator at Florida Middle School

In other Florida news involving alligators, a middle school had quite the scare last week. On Wednesday, at Lexington Middle School in Fort Myers, officers responded to emergency calls of a 7-foot alligator roaming around the outside of the middle school. Following the incident, Sheriff Carmine Marceno posted a video of officers subduing the gator and removing it from the premises.

“[School Resource Officer] K9 handler [Dave] Jennings, a former gator trapper, wrangled the visitor,” Marceno tweeted. “The alligator was taken by [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation] where it will be relocated to a safe area.”

In a second video posted on Twitter, Marceno showed four men removing the 7-footer as they carried the bound gator away from the school. “See you later, alligator,” the tweet read. Middle school officials also noted that their staff and students were all safe following the incident.

Alligator encounters are seemingly a daily occurrence in The Sunshine State. Just a few days prior, a Florida homeowner found a baby alligator swimming in her pool. After calling for help with the reptile, two deputies responded to the scene, which led to a lighthearted and amusing exchange caught on the officer’s body camera. As the two officers assessed the situation with the gator, one hilariously says aloud, “they didn’t go over this in the academy.”