Some people have to learn the hard way about respecting things that can do them harm, not realizing or accepting that in the blink of an eye they may be facing that exact scenario.
Nowhere is this more apparent than with wild animals, and many have made the same mistake, be it with bears or animals one might encounter on an African safari.
But for a zoo worker in Utah, the beast of burden was an alligator, who latched onto her hand and wouldn’t let go — all while young children looked on in horror.
The incident took place Saturday at a West Valley City petting zoo — why on earth an alligator would be seen as suitable for a petting zoo is a whole other matter. Lindsay Bull was about to feed the 8-foot-long alligator named “Darth Gator,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
A small tour group, including several young children, were on a “safety zone” around the glass-enclosed tank as the alligator climbed from the water onto a concrete ledge, owner Shane Richins explained to the paper.
“He’s not supposed to come up on his platform,” Bull told the group, informing them that she was going to try to get him back into the water.
“WE’VE GOT TROUBLE HERE!”: Two guests at a reptile center near Salt Lake City, Utah, bravely jumped into an enclosure to rescue a handler pulled in by an alligator at a children’s birthday party on Saturday as frightened kids looked on. pic.twitter.com/om8BzVNWM8
— Newsmax (@newsmax) August 17, 2021
In the understatement of the decade, she added that it would be “a little boring for a second.”
Bull opened the door into the tank, and the gator lurched toward her and latched onto her hand. The animal suddenly started violently lurching, as if trying to pull her into the tank. However, the zoo worker appeared to get into the water on her own, as panic filled the air.
“Hey, we’ve got trouble in here!” screamed out Donnie Wiseman, one of the onlookers.
Now in the alligator’s environment, the animal instinctively began rolling, spinning Bull underwater several times.
Wiseman tried to assist, before yelling out again, “Hey, we got trouble!”
All the while, Bull remains calm, instructing Wiseman on how to help. He heroically enters the tank and jumped on the alligators back. Eventually, Bull’s hand somehow works free and another man on the scene pulled her from the water.
Wiseman is now left alone in the water with the gator, still on the animal’s back. He’s seen calculating the best way to get out of the tank with his life. Positioning himself to make a hasty exit, he managed to successfully dash out of the enclosure.
Bull was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery on her hand, which is expected to regain full function, the Tribune reported. She also said she plans to return to her job once she has recovered.
“I can’t explain the level of admiration I have for that man [who helped save me],” she said in a statement on Facebook.
The zoo worker was quick to come to the defense of the animal that lived up to its billing.
“What happened was an accident,” Bull said. “I’m so much more to blame than Darth Gator.”
Scales & Tails Utah, a family-owned business, said in a statement: “These gentlemen could have stayed in the safety zone as most of us would, but instead jumped into the situation, of their own volition, and helped secure the alligator. Their help, combined with the training of our staff member, probably saved her life and her limbs.”
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