Entries in Alligator (7)


911 Caller Sees Alligator by Road in California

L.A. County Sheriff's Department(LANCASTER, Calif.) -- A startled woman in Lancaster, Calif., called 911 Tuesday morning after seeing an alligator on the side of the road.

“I just saw a couple of girls carrying an alligator!” the woman told a 911 dispatcher.

The alligator was being transported in a van when it went to the bathroom in its cage. In order to clean out the cage, two females removed the alligator from the van.

“Could it have been a lizard?” a 911 dispatcher asked the woman.

“No it was like 4 feet long!” the woman said.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department statement, “The caller feared that the female was about to abandon the beast in the desert.”

LASD deputies stopped the van to learn that the females were part of the “Zoo to You” program in Paso Robles, Calif. Deputies also found a baby kangaroo in the same van. The women planned to show the animals to the students of Quartz Hill Elementary School.

But on Tuesday morning, the alligator and baby kangaroo were stars in Lancaster as deputies took pictures of the animals before sending them on their way.

The deputies parted ways after saying “see you later alligator,” according to an L.A. County Sheriff’s statement.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Florida Man Attacked by Alligator While Fleeing Police

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(PINELLAS PARK, Fla.) -- An alligator in Florida took a bite out of crime -- literally.

Bryan Zuniga, 20, was running away from police after allegedly committing a traffic violation and driving without a license while driving in Pinellas Park, Fla.

Zuniga, fleeing on foot, attempted to hide at a water treatment plant in nearby St. Petersburg, Fla. That’s when he came face to face with a female alligator who had recently laid eggs. The alligator, which at 6 feet long was 4 inches bigger than Zuniga, was probably defending herself and her eggs when she attacked him.

Zuniga was able to get away and police were able to take him into custody, but not before taking him to get some stitches.

According to Zuniga’s father, who spoke briefly with ABC’s News, his son only suffered some scratches in the tussle with the mama gator, but officials say that he suffered a few bites, leaving puncture wounds in his arm and armpit.

“When you do trouble, trouble comes to you,” a neighbor who wished to remain anonymous said of Zungia’s unfortunate encounter with the gator. “He got what he deserved.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Grandpa Wrestles Alligator to Save Dog

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- How far would you go to protect your pet? Would you fight off a hungry alligator? A Florida grandfather did just that to save his furry friend.

Steve Gustafson, 66, was doing yard work on Tuesday when he heard his 9-year-old West Highland Terrier cry out for help. He turned around to find a 7-foot gator pulling the pooch into the water by her shoulder and collar.

“For whatever reason, I don’t know, I just yelled, ‘you’re not going to get her!’ and just leaped on the gator…just like you do some silly belly flop in a pool,” Gustafson told the Orlando Sentinel. “The only difference was I landed on top of a gator.”

He managed to wrestle the dog from the gator’s grip and bring it back up to shore. Both Gustafson and the dog were a little bruised, but otherwise unharmed.

Patrick Delaney, an alligator biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said attacks on dogs are “extremely uncommon” but do occur.

“One thing we stress at the Florida Fish and Wildlife is to be proactive. Not letting your dog that close to the shoreline would be the best thing you could do, and if you’re near the shore, keep your dog on a leash,” he told

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Florida Man Arrested After Losing Hand to Gator

Collier County Sheriff's Office(FORT MYERS, Fla.) -- A Florida airboat captain whose hand was chomped off by a gator on June 12 has been arrested and charged with illegally feeding the reptile.

Wallace Weatherholt was giving a family from Indiana a tour of the Everglades, and in an effort to show the tourists an alligator, he allegedly hung a fish outside of his boat -- illegally. An alligator took the bait, and the 63-year-old's hand, which was later found when the reptile was killed, but the appendage couldn't be reattached.

Weatherholt's injury notwithstanding, he was booked Friday on a second-degree misdemeanor charge of illegally feeding an alligator, according to the Fort Myers News-Press. He posted bail and has a court appearance set for Aug. 22, the paper reports.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Florida Teen Sacrifices Arm to Gator and Jokes Through Pain

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOORE HAVEN, Fla.) -- A Florida teenager who came face-to-snout with a 10-foot alligator made a split-second choice that likely saved his life, but cost him his arm.

Kaleb Langdale, 17, really showed his courage when he smiled and joked through the pain and loss of his right arm.

Langdale was swimming with his friends in the Caloosahatchee River in Moore Haven, Fla., on Monday when temperatures were hitting triple digits.

"He was swimming with some friends in the river, which they do frequently," Langdale's aunt LaDawn Hayes told ABC News. "It's a very rural community with nowhere in the town for these kids to go. There's no city pool, so this is the only choice on 100 degree day."

While the boys were swimming, one friend yelled, "There's a gator!"

"Kaleb turned around to look [at his friend] and turned back and there was a gator a few feet away coming straight at him," Hayes said. The alligator was later measured at about 10 feet.

His friends said that from the riverbank, all they could see was a lot of splashing.

"The gator went down and Kaleb went down," Hayes said. "He grabbed the gator underneath his bottom jaw, on that skin, and had pretty good control until the tail came around and slapped him in the back. At that point, his hand broke loose from the gator's jaw."

And, in that moment, Langdale told his aunt he made a difficult decision that probably saved his life.

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Hayes said he thought to himself, "It's either my life or my arm, and the arm was just kind of out there."

The gator chomped down on the lower half of his arm and Langdale saw an opportunity to get away.

"The gator took the arm. He felt the bones break, felt everything kind of go and made a choice at that point that it was either his arm or his life," Hayes said. "So he took his feet and pushed as hard as he could push until his arm broke free."

Langdale swam for the riverbank opposite where his friends were standing, since it was closer, and climbed out on his own. He yelled to his friends that he had lost his arm and told them to call for help.

"He pinched his arm between his legs and waited for paramedics to get there," Hayes said. "By the time his mom got there, the paramedics just stopped her and said, 'He's fine. He's joking. He's talking and he's a trooper, but he's lost part of his arm.'"

Langdale had lost the lower half of his right arm, below the elbow.

While Langdale was being taken care of in the hospital, authorities managed to track down and kill the alligator.

Langdale underwent surgery to close up his wounds, but not before asking Hayes to snap a photo of him in the trauma unit and post it on Facebook.

"You're on your pain meds, I'm not going to do that," Hayes told him. But he insisted, telling her, "Let everyone know I'm okay and I can still drive my airboat. Let them know it was my right arm and not my left."

"He's really doing awesome," Hayes said. "His attitude has been absolutely wonderful. He's always had a very good outlook on life, so if he can find a way to joke about it, he'll joke about it. And he's found a way to do that so far."

Langdale has been in good spirits and is in the hospital where the family is taking things "one day at a time," Hayes said. His surgery to close his wounds was successful, but the family does not yet know when Langdale will leave the hospital.

"He's really been very mellow about the whole thing, very himself," Hayes said. "You just don't realize how amazing he is until something like this happens and then all those years of smart-butt comments and jokes make sense."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Florida Alligator Eats Tour-Boat Captain’s Hand

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(EVERGLADES CITY, Fla.) -- A Florida summer pastime took a detour when an Everglades tour-boat captain’s hand was bitten off by an alligator.

The incident happened Tuesday afternoon during an airboat ride with customers on board.  That’s when the 9-foot-long alligator jumped out of the bayou waters and bit off the captain’s hand.

Officials are withholding the name of the airboat captain who worked for Captain Doug’s Everglades Tours of Everglades City, Fla.

The captain was taken to a nearby hospital and eventually airlifted to an undisclosed hospital equipped to treat his injuries.  Tour company manager Glen Smith said the captain “is in good spirits.  I spoke with him this morning and he is doing as best as he could be.”

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials say the alligator was captured and the victim’s hand was removed from its stomach.  Smith said hospital officials were unable to reattach the severed hand.  

“We ask for everyone’s prayers,” he said.

“Gator tours” have risen in popularity since a number of television shows such as Swamp People and Cajun Justice hit the airwaves.  Alligator bites, however, are uncommon, particularly in the state of Florida where it is illegal to feed alligators.  There were four recorded incidents of alligators biting a human last year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The alligator has since been killed by authorities and Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are investigating whether any laws were broken during the boat tour.

“It is illegal to feed alligators because alligators could overcome their natural weariness of humans and learn to associate people with food,” commission spokeswoman Carli Segelson said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Florida Teen's Baggy Pants Help Him Escape Alligator Attack

Comstock Images/Thinkstock (file photo)(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) -- A teenage boy in Florida must be very thankful his pants were on the ground Monday night.

Kendrick Williams, 17, was walking home from work when he encountered an alligator, which he says was between six and seven feet long, near a pond at an apartment complex in St. Petersburg, according to ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV in Tampa Bay.  Upon seeing the gator, Williams took off running but the alligator still managed to take a bite -- out of his baggy pants.

Williams just escaped the attack, coming out unharmed and with a few holes in his pants.  His mother, Tanita Murray, told WFTS-TV that the sagging pants may have saved his life.

"That was the advantage of wearing baggy pants that day," Murray said.

The alligator seems to have gotten off the hook, too, since wildlife officers said there are too many gators in the pond to positively identify which one attacked Williams.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio