Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Man Loses More Than Hand After Allegedly Feeding Gator
An Everglades City airboat captain whose hand was bitten off has been
charged with unlawful feeding of an alligator
Captain Wallace Weatherholt, 63, who works at Captain Doug's Small Airport Tours
, was out with six tourists when the attack occurred.
The Indiana family onboard
said that Weatherholt held a fish out above the water's surface
just before a gator leapt up and bit off his hand.
Weatherholt was able to drive himself back to the docks. Meanwhile wildlife officers tracked down the gator and killed it before retrieving the captain's hand from its stomach.
However doctors were
unable to reattach Weatherholt's lost limb
Feeding gators is a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida. Weatherholt was held in Collier County Jail on
$1,000 bond but has since posted out
David Weathers, a nuisance-alligator trapper told
Fort Myers News-Press
, that when gators are fed, they lose their natural fear of humans and are more likely to attack.
In cell phone footage taken by a
NBC2 producer who was on a Captain Doug's tour
a few weeks prior to Weatherholt's injury, an unidentified airboat captain can be seen feeding a large gator who jumps feet out of the water towards the food.
VIDEO: Man charged after gator bites off his hand.
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