A Florida man pried open an alligator’s jaws to save the life of his pet, who was in the process of being eaten by the approximately 7-foot-long gator.
The man was in his house in Nokomis when he heard a noise coming from behind the building and rushed outside to see what happened.
“The homeowner heard a commotion and ran out. Saw the alligator had the dog. He jumped in the canal, pried the alligator’s mouth open, and got the dog,” Lt. Rob Gerkin of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission told WWSB.
“We got a happy ending to this one. They don’t always happen that way.”
The man heard a commotion, rushed outside, and didn’t hesitate to jump in the water to rescue his dog. https://t.co/MPuQsa9I08
— KFVS News (@kfvsnews) August 4, 2019
The man and the dog, a chocolate Labrador retriever, both survived after the dog owner then rushed the animal to a veterinarian. Their injuries were described as minor.
Authorities were called and a trapper found the gator around 11 p.m. on Aug. 2, approximately six hours after the attack.
Neighbors said what happened was scary.
“I had a friend come over Monday and build this fence, because I have two dogs and I had to be able to let them out,” Kelley Ann Ayers told WWSB. “It was scary. It was very scary.”
So last Sunday when I came in from boating there was a huge gator just off my dock … this is the time of year the…
Ayers posted a picture of the gator in the nearby canal on Facebook, writing: “So last Sunday when I came in from boating there was a huge gator just off my dock … this is the time of year the gators end up in the salt water!”
“So I had a fence built on Monday along the shore….I called the gator Hotline…. but before the Trapper could get here… it attacked a dog 4 doors down and the owner Justin jumped in and saved the dog! Remarkably they are both ok! This is the photo I took last Sunday! It was huge!”
— MyFWC (@MyFWC) August 1, 2019
A biologist recently said that the uptick in deadly alligator attacks in Florida stems from an increasing number of both humans and gators in the state.
“The truth is, is alligator populations have exploded. What you need to keep in mind is that alligators just a few decades ago were critically endangered. They are one of our greatest conservation success stories, to the point now they are no longer endangered,” Jeff Corwin, the biologist, told Fox News.
“If there is a body of water in Florida, if there is a pond, a swamp, a lagoon, even a swimming pool, it’s very likely there is an alligator nearby. We both share this ecosystem together, and that is where you get situations like this.”
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the state “has experienced tremendous human population growth.”
“Many residents seek waterfront homes, and increasingly participate in water-related activities. This can result in more frequent alligator-human interactions, and a greater potential for conflict,” the agency stated.
“Anything that’s about the right size and the right opportunity is potential prey,” Marty Main, an expert in alligator behavior and program leader for natural resources at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, told the Tampa Bay Times. “They can even go for adults if you find yourself in a compromising position.”
The Fish and Wildlife Commission warned people never to feed gators and to stay away if they see one. Swimming should only be done in designated swimming areas during daylight areas and pets should be kept on leashes and away from the water.