A Florida man is recovering after an alligator attack that nearly found him incapacitated and dragged into the water.
The 61-year-old man, Mark Johnson, was walking his golden retriever Rex in Port St. Lucie when he found himself face to face with an 8-foot alligator. The gator began to try to drag him under the canal after clamping its jaws on the man’s foot.
While the alligator worked to drag Johnson down, the terrified man thought fast. He ended up gouging the alligator’s eye out, which won him the freedom he sought without sustaining too much damage.
“This gator was coming in fast. He was aggressive,” Johnson told local media outlet WPTV. “My foot was hanging out of the corner of his mouth. He starts clamping down pretty tight and he started to pull, and the next thing I do, is instantly, you know, here’s my fingers, I poke [in the eye.] I had to do something.”
The alligator attack aftermath
Johnson ended up freeing himself and was no worse for the wear, save for the 60 stitches he needed on his leg and finger. His dog Rex was luckily not injured.
However, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission ended up having a trapper go to the area. They removed an 8-foot-long alligator that was nearly 250 pounds. It was later humanely euthanized. Johnson couldn’t believe it was such a large gator.
“When your whole leg is in the jaws of a gator, you’re not thinking size, you’re thinking survival,” he said. “I knew he was bigger than me. Well, the realization hit me today at how lucky I was. He was 8 feet 6. It’s really hitting me now at how fortunate I am.”