A Florida alligator, one that was apparently in no mood for annoying tourists or noisy airboats, leapt out of the water and crunched down on the captain’s hand, according to the Los Angeles Times. Unfortunately for the poor guy, he isn’t getting it back. Witnesses claim the captain was repeatedly slapping the water and feeding marshmallows to the creature in question when it decided those fingers looked far more appetizing.
The victim, 63 year-old Wallace Weatherholt, works for Captain Doug’s Everglades Tours of Everglades City, Florida. Although Fish and Wildlife officials said they killed the alligator and fished the captain’s gnawed-upon hand from the monster’s gut, doctors were unable to reattach it. Animal rights activists were none too pleased with this decision, claiming that it was ultimately Weatherholt’s irresponsible actions that lead to the attack in the first place.
“[The captain] is in good spirits. I spoke with him this morning and he is doing as best as he could be,” tour company manager Glen Smith explained to ABC News.
As a result of the incident, Florida Fish and Wildlife are looking into whether or not any laws were broken during this ill-fated tour. “It is illegal to feed alligators because alligators could overcome their natural weariness of humans and learn to associate people with food,” a commission spokeswoman explained.
“This is a tragic incident that could have been avoided if people would heed the advice of wildlife experts and not feed alligators and other wild animals, who will then come to rely on people for — or as — food,” the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said in a statement.
Weatherholt is currently recovering in an area hospital. However, If found guilty of illegally feeding the alligator, he could face time in prison.