YAHOO! NEWS – A 25-year-old Florida man is recovering after being attacked by an alligator last weekend.
Tampa resident Jeffrey Heim was searching for megalodon shark teeth in the Myakka River.
He was only in the water for a few minutes when he was hit with such force that he thought it was a boat, he told NBC News.
“I thought it was a propeller, it hit me so hard,” Heim said.
“I realized I was inside its mouth and if the alligator hadn’t decided to let me go on its own, there was nothing I could have done to fight it.”
He thinks the alligator that attacked him was about 9 feet long and likely a female, possibly looking to protect her eggs.
Last month, Florida wildlife experts warned people to take increased caution over the next couple of months as alligator mating season began in May and continues through the summer.
Following the attack, Heim was left with 34 stitches in his head, a minor skull fracture and bite marks on one of his hands, and because of swelling in his head, he is still unable to open his left eye.
Both his doctors and Heim agreed that his ability to come out on the other side of this attack alive and without more severe injuries is a miracle.
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Amorous alligators put Florida on alert as mating season begins
State warns of ‘more active and more visible’ gators as warmer weather heats up reptilian passions
THE GUARDIAN – With toilet-invading iguanas, deadly hybrid super-serpents and toxic giant toads, no corner of Florida is ever completely safe from the threat of a marauding reptile.
Now, with the imminent start of the rainy season, another menace is emerging from the swamps: amorous alligators heading into urban areas in an annual quest for love.
The 2021 season appears to be off to a lively start. Last week, the Hillsborough county sheriff’s office was called to handle a 10ft gator hiding under a parked car in Tampa.
That followed a Pinellas county man’s discovery of a 7ft reptile lurking in his back yard before taking a dip in the family pool, and a joint effort by Venice police and Sarasota county sheriff’s deputies to remove a large gator from a housing complex.
Perhaps the raunchiest example came in a video of two alligators engaged in a mating ritual, captured by a Bradenton resident and posted to YouTube.
“Didn’t have to leave my back yard to see these two gators tossing each other around,” wrote Gordon Silver, the gator videographer.
April is the final month of Florida’s dry season and the beginning of the alligators’ annual courtship. Rising temperatures wake up the reptiles’ metabolisms and they become more energetic and travel further in search of food and mates.
“As a reminder, warm spring weather means alligators are more active and more visible,” the Florida fish and wildlife conservation commission says in its online advice for living with alligators and crocodiles.
“It also means they’ll be observed basking in the sun as they regulate their body temperature. Never feed an alligator and keep your distance if you see one. Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. And keep pets on a leash and away from the water … ” Click here to read more.