Last week, James Barney Jr., a 9-year-old boy from St. Cloud, Fla., was biking near Osceola County Lake when, according to a report from WFTV, he decided to stop and pop into the water for a quick swim in a restricted area of the lake. (Whether Barney realized this or not, swimming in a restricted area is a bad idea, and swimming in a restricted area in Florida is the worst idea.)
Barney Jr. told the Orlando Sentinel that shortly after he got in, he felt something grabbing him and reached down to explore what it was.
What did he find? The business end of a reportedly 9-foot, 500-pound alligator.
“I felt its jaw. I felt its teeth,” the boy told the Sentinel and other news outlets on Friday.
According to WFTV, Barney Jr. summoned the strength to punch the gator a few times before prying open its jaws and escaping to shore. Someone nearby had heard his screams and called 911, and a medical helicopter was able to quickly transport Barney Jr. to Arnold Palmer Hospital to be treated for “three superficial bites.”
He has since announced that he’s in good condition, but that may not be true for the gator in this story. Wildlife officials are working to trap the alligator and honestly, that seems a bit hasty.
Why are we blaming the alligator for all this? The animal saw something that looked like food and did what 99 percent of animals would do in that situation. It’s the same reason we shouldn’t be blaming sharks when they bite people. It’s not their fault that they’re hungry and naturally interact with the world by using their mouths.
Responsibility for this whole thing really falls on humans. Somehow, we have become the only animal on Earth that doesn’t have a single natural predator and yet we continue to put ourselves in situations where we can be eaten. So let’s all try out a new rule: If the body of water isn’t guaranteed to be free of potential predators, go ahead and stay on land.
(H/T Huffington Post)