Dramatic video shows cigar-smoking Florida man rescue puppy from jaws of alligator

Graeme Massie
·1 min read
A Florida man heroically saved his puppy’s life as he pried it free from the jaws of an alligator. (Getty Images)
A Florida man heroically saved his puppy’s life as he pried it free from the jaws of an alligator. (Getty Images)

A Florida man heroically saved his puppy’s life by prying it free from the jaws of an alligator.

Cigar-smoking Richard Wilbanks leapt into action when three-month-old King Charles spaniel Gunner was snatched by the gator and dragged into a pond.

"We were just out walking by the pond and it came out of the water like a missile,” 74-year-old Mr Wilbanks told CNN.

Mr Wilbanks then jumped into the water and jammed his hands into the gator’s jaws and forced open its mouth to allow Gunner to escape.

“I never thought an alligator could be that fast. It was so quick. I just automatically jumped into the water,” he added.

Mr Wilbanks admitted that prying open the jaws was “extremely hard” and that it left his hands “chewed up”, requiring a tetanus shot.

Gunner suffered a single puncture wound and is in good health after a visit to the vets.

The wild incident near Fort Myers, Florida, went viral after being captured on an animal observation camera by the Florida Wildlife Federation.

"We live on a shared landscape," said Meredith Budd of the wildlife federation.

"We don't just want to tolerate wildlife, but, rather, we want to thrive with wildlife on a shared landscape.”

Mr Wilbanks says he does not want the alligator removed or destroyed by authorities.

"They're part of nature and part of our lives," he said.

But he admitted that Gunner would now be walked on a lead and be kept 10 feet away from the water’s edge.

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