Florida alligators are a big reason why you won’t find me splashing about in natural bodies of water. Call me crazy, but I’m just not a big fan of swimming in areas where wild animals tend to mate and search for food. As a fan of my working body parts, it just doesn’t have very much appeal to me. Maybe that’s because I’m an unadventurous wimp who doesn’t take enough risks in life. Perhaps I need to stretch my legs into areas where my sense of comfort is put to the test. However, I seriously doubt it.
Such is the case of 17 year-old Kaleb Langdale, a boy who watched helplessly as an alligator bit off part of his left arm. Langdale, who is recovering nicely and, according to various reports, is in relatively good spirits, was airlifted to an area hospital for emergency treatment following the attack. Concerned with reattaching the young man’s arm, authorities tracked down the offending alligator, killed it, cut it open, and fished out Kaleb’s missing limb. Not surprisingly, doctors were unable to return the missing part to its proper location.
“It ended up being about a 10-and-a-half-foot gator who came straight at him. It came at him and he put his arm in the way instead of letting it get to his body. It took his arm and took him under,” explained Langdale’s friend, Matt Baker.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino, alligator bites are rare, though the frequency of these attacks do tend to increase around mating season, when the beasts are on the prowl for food and potential mating partners. Surprisingly, only 224 individuals have suffered from alligator bites since 1948. Given the amount of people I’ve seen devoured in countless motion pictures, I stupidly assumed this number would be much bigger.
“We want to understand the dynamics of the bite and understand what happened — what the alligator was doing, what the young man was doing — to see if there’s anything we can learn from this,” Pino explained. “We have millions of people swimming in the state’s waterways and nothing happens.”