A Florida man wrestled his dog away from an alligator that had caught the young pup as the two strolled across the pond that the alligator calls home. Almost as incredible as the dramatic rescue was the fact that it was recorded by surveillance cameras.
A harrowing rescue of a young dog from the jaws of a Florida alligator was incredibly videotaped recently. The surveillance camera footage shows the dramatic encounter between Richard Wilbanks, 74, and a young alligator whirling around in the water while Wilbank’s 3-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is caught in the animal’s jaws. The video was shown on the local news and luckily the sound was turned off to save viewers from screaming the dog. And as dramatic as the footage is, there is no drop of blood shown and everyone survived.
“We were just walking by the pond,” Wilbanks told CNN, “and it came out of the water like a rocket.” I never thought an alligator could go that fast. It was so quick. “
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Wilbanks says his adrenaline or instinct kicked in and “I just automatically jumped in the water.” Holding the alligator wasn’t that difficult, but prying open the jaw was “extremely difficult,” he said. While the 74-year-old appears to be fit and healthy, a rush of adrenaline can result in a stimulated physical state that creates abnormal strength in the face of danger. Yes, these stories of mothers lifting a car to save a child can be true.
Gunnar the dog escaped with a single puncture on the abdomen and is recovering well after a visit to the vet. Wilbank’s hands suffered numerous cuts and were “chewed up” in his words. A visit to the doctor and a tetanus shot were required.
The rescue south of Fort Myers, Florida was caught on camera through a partnership between the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fSTOP Foundation. Usually the surveillance cameras are more suited to seeing deer and bobcats along the foliage of the pond. The aim of the project is to help people appreciate and understand the wildlife they live near and to reduce the conflicts that can sometimes arise between humans and nature.
“We live in a common landscape,” said Meredith Budd of the Wildlife Association. “We not only want to tolerate wild animals, but also thrive with wild animals in a common landscape.” Wilbanks agrees to this mission and he doesn’t want the alligator removed from the pond or destroyed. “They are part of nature and part of our life,” he said. In an interview with the local ABC news company, Wilbanks and his wife were quite forgiving of the alligator, recognizing the right of wildlife to live side by side with them.
“It gives us a new appreciation,” said Louise Wilbanks. “We have to be aware that these are wild animals. You are not here to our advantage. We are very happy to share this space with you. “
This incident is a reminder that many of us today share space with wildlife – coyotes, mountain lions, and alligators – that can pose very real threats to pets. Take appropriate precautions to protect pets in such environments. Wilbanks is still planning on walking Gunnar in the area, but on a leash and far from the pond edge.