9-Foot Alligator Knocks on Door and Waits For Florida Man to Come Out, Then Violently Attacks Him
"Total surprise and shock."
A Florida man got the surprise of his life this week when he opened his front door after hearing a noise and encountered a nine-foot-long alligator, which promptly bit him on the leg. Scot Hollingsworth said he was watching TV with his wife in their Daytona Beach home on March 4 when he heard a bump at the door. "I jumped up and headed over and opened the door, stepped out while trying to reach the lights and barely got out the door and got my leg clamped on, and (it) started shaking really violently," he told Click Orlando. Read on to find out what happened next.
In Darkness, He Thought It Was a Dog
Hollingsworth first thought he was being attacked by a dog. After the animal let go of his leg, he turned on the outdoor light. "Soon as it released me, I stepped back and flipped the lights on and saw the alligator sitting right here on the porch," he said. "Oh, crap, a gator just bit me," was Hollingsworth's first impression, he told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "And I stepped back inside and closed the door and started to assess just how bad things were."
"Total Surprise and Shock"
It was a fairly gnarly wound. "To this side, it's all puncture wounds, but on this side, I had a big tear," Hollingsworth said, pointing to his left leg near his knee. Hollingsworth's wife, Julie, called 911. "My husband opened the door, and there was an alligator, and it bit him," she told a dispatcher. "He is bleeding up above the knee. It's a very deep gash."
"It happened so quickly, wasn't a whole lot (of time). It was just total surprise and shock," Hollingsworth told Click Orlando. "We see alligators behind our house, it's a regular thing, but they always keep their distance from us."
"A Little Too Close For Me"
Hollingsworth was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He's back home now and expected to make a full recovery. A trapper called by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found the gator and euthanized it. Despite the attack, Hollingsworth said he wished the alligator hadn't been put down. "I worked on a farm growing up and have been out in the wildlife my whole life you know, I love seeing the animals, but not that close. It was a little too close for me," he said. "I suspect I surprised the alligator as much as he surprised me," he added.
Alligator-Human Interactions Becoming More Common
Alligator and human interactions become more common as the weather warms, said Frank Robb of the nonprofit Environmental Education Awareness Research Support and Services. "Their hormones, which are actually very similar to ours, ramp up twice a year. This happens to coincide with spring and fall," he said. "They're just more active this time of year, and you start to see more human conflict with them kind of crossing paths, the more homes that are being built, the more things that are going on, the more you see them walking around doing stuff," added Robb.
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How to Stay Safe
Mike Hileman, the director of the wildlife park Gatorland, told News 6 that humans and gators can peacefully coexist. "It's a top predator that can get very large, and they can be kind of scary, but through education and being self-aware of your surroundings, we can coexist with these things." To stay safe should you encounter an alligator, Hileman says you should keep your distance and never feed a gator in the wild. Always keep pets on a leash and away from the water.