In a dramatic encounter recorded by surveillance cameras, a Florida man chased an alligator beneath water and rescued his 3-month-old pet from the jaws of loss of life.
Richard Wilbanks, 74, of Estero bumped into his yard pond, wrestled the gator above floor, and pried its jaws open to free Gunner, his Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
“We have been simply out strolling by the pond,” Wilbanks advised CNN, “and it got here out of the water like a missile. I by no means thought an alligator could possibly be that quick. It was so fast.”
He stated adrenaline or intuition kicked in, and “I simply mechanically jumped into the water.”
Holding the alligator wasn’t so robust, however prying open the jaws was “extraordinarily laborious,” he stated.
Wilbanks stated his fingers have been “chewed up,” and he went to a health care provider for a tetanus shot.
Gunner had one puncture wound in his stomach and did high-quality after a visit to the veterinarian’s workplace.
The rescue south of Fort Myers was caught on digicam due to a partnership between the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fSTOP Basis.
“We reside on a shared panorama,” Meredith Budd of the wildlife federation advised affiliate WINK. “We do not simply need to tolerate wildlife, however, somewhat, we need to thrive with wildlife on a shared panorama.”
Wilbanks agrees with that mission and he would not need the alligator faraway from the pond or destroyed.
“They’re a part of nature and a part of our lives,” he stated.
He nonetheless takes Gunner strolling, however he retains the pet on a leash — and 10 toes from the pond’s edge. “Our pets, they’re similar to household to us,” he stated.