A North Carolina scientist nearly became a meal for a 250-pound alligator on May 15 in the Tar Heel State. Fred Boyce, a herpetologist at the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium, was among those called in to capture the reptile that was spotted along a highway in Carteret County. He had started working at the Aquarium just two months ago.
Cell phone video shows the scientist straddling the 8 foot-long beast in a roadside ditch. He then placed a towel over the alligator's eyes in an attempt to calm it. When he tried to place his hands around the alligator's neck, Boyce was attacked by the beast. Thrashing its enormous tail, the alligator clamped its powerful jaws down on the scientist's arm, who was able to fend it off with several kicks before leaping away.
“That gator was in a position of advantage there in that ditch,” biologist Robbie Norville told WCTI-TV. “We had to coax him, get him to move somewhere flat where we could have the advantage. We were able to tie him up, secure his jaw closed. From there, it all went well.”
The alligator was relocated to a nearby swamp. This was a rare recorded incident involving an alligator biting a human. Wildlife officials said that this alligator was unusually large for that area of the country, even while the once endangered species has made a spectacular comeback throughout the Deep South in recent years after many years of predation by humans.
Boyce was treated at a local hospital and is recovering at home. Alligator bites can be dangerous, not only because of the risk of amputation and other trauma, but also because of sepsis that can arise from bites inflicted by their bacteria-laden mouths.