May 9, 2017

A 10-year-old girl escaped from an 8'9"-long alligator that was gripping her leg by prying its mouth open.

She's got the puncture wounds to prove the alligator was biting her, but there's some doubt about the prying-open-the-mouth part:
The expert in animal bites, Dr. Gregory M. Erickson, a professor of anatomy and paleobiology at Florida State University, said that it was “very unlikely” that the girl had managed to pry the creature’s jaws open in the way the official account described.

“If that alligator wanted to hold on, not much could have stopped it,” he said.

He said it was more likely the animal could not find a good purchase on the girl’s leg, allowing her to get away from it more easily.

Dr. Erickson, who has studied the bite force of various members of the animal kingdom, found that crocodiles and alligators have the strongest bites of any known animal.
But fight anyway:
“The more fight a person puts up, it’s more likely that animals are not going to press the attack,” he said....
You can't win the fight, but you may cause the animal to choose not to fight.

And hooray for the little girl, for her brute force or her persuasive power. 

37 comments:

campy said...

Maybe she just didn't taste good.

Rusty said...

Preditors attack the way they -from the back or sides-because they don't want to get hurt. The brown bear may be an exception.

Birkel said...

@ Althouse

I saw the little girl interviewed and she said she poked at the alligator's eyes and stuck her fingers in the alligator's nostrils. She also said she punched it in the snout which the alligator experts say is quite sensitive.

Angel-Dyne said...

I read the title and said "no, she didn't". Didn't have to read any further. Only somebody who doesn't know from gators would buy that.

The Drill SGT said...

best evah fight scene

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU8DDYz68kM

exhelodrvr1 said...

Still not tired of the winning!

traditionalguy said...

The survivors of gator attacks usually leave without an arm torn from their body. Tearing off a leg is rare. That was one badly trained gator.

The gator's method is to take hold on a body part and drag the prey into and under the water where it drowns and then stuff the dead body into a hole in the under water bank area to rot until it is tender enough to eat.

One more reason to avoid Florida.

St. George said...

But can she stop a bull on Wall Street?

MayBee said...

I, like BIrkel, saw an interview with the little girl. She said she stuck her fingers up its nostrils so it couldn't breathe, and so had to open its mouth.

Ann Althouse said...

"I saw the little girl interviewed and she said she poked at the alligator's eyes and stuck her fingers in the alligator's nostrils. She also said she punched it in the snout which the alligator experts say is quite sensitive."

I guess I should have included more about what the expert said, which rejected that common belief: "no part of a gator’s body is particularly vulnerable, despite conventional wisdom about aiming for the eyes and nostrils."

Ann Althouse said...

Also: "The biggest alligators, significantly larger than the one encountered by the Florida girl, can deliver about 3,000 pounds of bite force he said. By comparison, lions bite with about 1,000 pounds; spotted hyenas, which can crack bones, pack about 1,400 pounds. (Humans, by comparison, deliver a measly 200 pounds.)"

surfed said...

I can't count the times I've run to the edge of a river or stream here in North Florida to snatch my young daughter away from the waters edge when she was young. There is an overabundance of gators. I see them everyday down at my sailboat dock. I sometimes see them in the ocean when I'm surfing in river mouths like Matanzas Inlet. They need to be culled and culled aggresively.
Rules to all visitors to Florida:
1. Never swim in water that is not gin clear - Ginnie springs or Itchetucknee springs being a good example.
2. Never let a young child or a pet wander or play at waters edge.
3. A gator can scale a six foot chain link fence to go after a dog (favorite food) or a child like it's not even there. You Tube that one.

Now that said - y'all come on down for a visit.

DanTheMan said...

>One more reason to avoid Florida.

Alligators are very common here. We learned how to catch them as part of our police academy training.

As Ann points out, they have *tremendous* biting power... prying their jaws open is not really possible. However, you can hold an alligator's mouth closed with one hand!

>>"no part of a gator’s body is particularly vulnerable"
I'd agree with this, based on experience. After being caught a few times, our class's alligator started to calm down. The wildlife officer who brought him to us took a shovel out of his car and smacked him around pretty hard to get him agitated again!
The alligator was none the worse for the beating he took...

All that being said, that's one very lucky little girl! Whatever she did worked!




DanTheMan said...

>>Now that said - y'all come on down for a visit.

Keep Florida green! Come visit and spend your money!
Then, go home.
:)

William said...

Maybe we can be treated to a statue of a girl standing in defiance of an alligator.

David said...

Glad she's alive, no thanks to the idiots who set up that spot as a swim area.

Rick said...

What parent allows a child in a Florida pond?

They're luckier than anyone can expect to be.

rcocean said...

Exactly, you CANNOT pry open a gator's mouth, if he doesn't want to open. OTOH, they have little power in opening their jaws, so if one comes at you, clamp down on his jaws.

rcocean said...

"A gator can scale a six foot chain link fence to go after a dog"


Really? How big of a gator can do that?

Emmanuel Monday said...

Attention to all,Attention to all.Are you a business man singer soccer play
trying to be grand and famous in life or trying to secure your wealth and
position in the society and get money within 3 days .
whatsApp +2347052744530
.join Illuminati now to have Money, powers, fame,protection, cure to all
illness and wealth become your title in just three days. If interested to
join the illuminati brotherhood and sisters with our headquarters at Nigeria and USA
and Africa through African initiation for success in life do and become
billionaires any were you are through online initiation.For more info
whatsApp us through this initiation contact Number:
+2347052744530
For your on-line initiation.
No matter where you are. No distance can affect the work of our baphomet
WhatsApp +2347052744530
Email:worldmoneyilluminati669@gmail.com
and say yes to your dreams.Hail lucifer..
..............??

exiledonmainstreet said...

Althouse has a fondness for these extreme survival stories.

It's not nice to fool Mother Nature - but every so often, people get away with it.

Unknown said...

"As Ann points out, they have *tremendous* biting power... prying their jaws open is not really possible. However, you can hold an alligator's mouth closed with one hand!"

"Exactly, you CANNOT pry open a gator's mouth, if he doesn't want to open. OTOH, they have little power in opening their jaws, so if one comes at you, clamp down on his jaws."

I've heard this, too, but you do, eventually, have to let go.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Nonetheless, she persisted. GJ kid!

Bad Lieutenant said...

Nevertheless? Sigh.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I've heard this, too, but you do, eventually, have to let go.

5/9/17, 9:13 AM

how fast can you take off your belt with one hand?

surfed said...

@rcocean - You Tube "alligator climbing chain link fence". You should get several videos to choose from I think...

CJinPA said...

Too late. The girl has already been co-opted by feminists on social media.

Is there a statue of an alligator the girl can stare down?

Bad Lieutenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bad Lieutenant said...

How big was she, maybe 4-5' high 70-100 lb? How heavy is an 8-9' alligator? All muscle.

Where on the leg was the bite? Where on the jaw?

If the bite was at the very tip of the alligator's jaws, a) it would have less of a grip, b) the smallest opening or even slackening of the jaw's grip would free the girl.

Luck-kee.

Jim Gust said...

In my youth I watched an alligator wrestler at Reptile Gardens in South Dakota. He made the point about the gator having weak muscles to open the jaw, strong muscles to close it. Then he pried wide open the gator's jaws, saying that the gator did not yet realize what he was doing. As soon as the gator's weak brain registered what was happening, the jaws snapped shut like a rat trap.

Next he "wrestled" the gator, which consists entirely of flipping the gator onto its back and holding it in that position. The blood pools around its tiny brain, and it passes out.

I left the show wondering, "what was God thinking?"

The guy also milked a rattle snake.

Expat(ish) said...

@Surfed @Dan - As we say in SWF - Thanks for coming and paying our taxes, enjoy your flight home to Toronto or Cincy.

There is a popular kayaking spot near me at Alligator Creek Preserve (https://goo.gl/maps/vh4RXft9T3p) and one day I saw 30+ gators in two miles of paddling. I'd gone out alone, got a bit spooked, and came home. My Epic, at 16 foot, feels large, until you realize it's basically 32lbs of unpainted fiberglass and a gator could use it as a toothbrush.

_XC

DanTheMan said...

>>@Surfed @Dan - As we say in SWF - Thanks for coming and paying our taxes, enjoy your flight home to Toronto or Cincy.

I wish they would all fly.
It's the Canadians driving 35 MPH on the highway that drive me crazy.
Perhaps all the horsepower of the car is being directed into the air conditioning system?

DanTheMan said...

> Is there a statue of an alligator the girl can stare down?

Yep. At the intersection of Gale Lemerand Drive and Stadium Road in Gainesville.

Inga said...

Lucky little girl.

JaimeRoberto said...

@Jim Gust "The guy also milked a rattle snake."

I was unaware that snakes have nipples.

cubanbob said...

Back in the early 70's gators weren't much of a nuisance in Florida. Then came the legal protection of gators. This is one species that needs a bit of endangerment.

surfed said...

@DantheMan: complete concurrence fron here in north east Florida.