The heart-stopping moment a ginormous gator took a bite out of an elderly man’s arm after he tried to wrestle it with a towel has gone viral on social media.
DailyMail.com identified the man as Fred Boyce, a seasoned herpetologist from North Carolina, when the clip was first circulated in May 2012.
But his encounter with the 250-pound brute has resurfaced again more than a decade later, stunning viewers for a second time.
Boyce was off-duty when he heard that the eight-foot reptile had been spotted along Highway 70 in North Carolina. But he decided to step in, having experience in gator round-ups.
The video shows Boyce, wearing a blue polo t-shirt and beige trousers, gingerly approaching the animal in a shallow ditch before flinging a towel over its eyes.
He then slowly creeps up on the alligator from behind and places his feet either side of the behemoth. As he lowers his hands towards the gator’s covered head, the animal snaps, whipping its neck around to face Boyce before taking a bite out of his arm.
A woman can be heard screaming as two men who were poised nearby back away, and Boyce lets out a yelp as the gator’s jaws close on his elbow momentarily. Holding his arm, he kicks at the gator before scrambling to his feet and retreating towards the others.
The comments section of the video was flooded with people questioning Boyce’s motive and approach to the animal, while dozens joked that they mistook him for Joe Biden.
Following the near death experience, Boyce admitted on the Today Show that taking on the animal was ‘a little out of my size range to do it by myself’, adding that ‘this was really not a good example of my best work.’ ‘I obviously wasn’t thinking about the digital age that we live in and handheld video cameras,’ he said. ‘I wish I had been thinking more about that. I was basically thinking (that) the situation there wasn’t too good.’
He said he had hoped someone might follow him and jump on top of the alligator. ‘I really wish I had had some experienced help there with me. I was really just expecting to take some pictures and see an alligator and maybe lend a hand if they needed one, but otherwise stay out of the way,’ he added. ‘When I got there I was really surprised to hear that (wildlife officials) weren’t responding. Somebody told me that they weren’t going to come, and it was all up to us. I would rather have just left it there.’
Boyce was rushed to the hospital to be treated and officials from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission were able wrangle the beast and return him to the wild. A motorist first saw the 10-foot alligator crossing the thoroughfare, according to WCTI.
Wildlife officials were called in from Kinston, roughly two hours away, but Boyce didn’t wait till they got there. Boyce, a herpetologist at the nearby Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium, is an expert on amphibians and reptiles. He’s been on staff at the aquarium since March of 2012 and his Facebook page includes several photos of him participating in gator ’round-ups’ and handling other dangerous creatures.
A team from the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission arrived to secure the alligator, according to WCTI. ‘That gator was in a position of advantage there in that ditch. We had to coax him, get him to move somewhere flat where we could have the advantage,’ biologist Robbie Norville told WCTI.
‘We were able to tie him up, secure his jaw closed. From there, it all went well.’ Local EMS, police officials and even the fire department were called in to help keep the creature at bay. After the ordeal, the animal was taken to a swamp in Carteret County Tuesday night and released back into the wild.
Mr Norville said that before Mr Boyce’s bite, there had only been three recorded bites of an alligator in North Carolina history. He added that only certified people, like Mr Norville, are legally allowed to handle alligators in the wild.
This article by Laura Parnaby was first published by The Daily Mail on 3 January 2024. Lead Image: A stock photo shows an alligator in a Florida swamp. A Florida man says he survived being lost in a swamp for three days before finding help after an alligator attack. WILLIAMHC/GETTY.
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