Alligators don’t mess around. They have jaws designed to lock shut on their prey. They can take down deer and men with a brutal roll of their scaled bodies that are basically foot upon foot of pure muscle. Nevertheless, a 10-year-old girl persisted, beating back an 8-foot 9-inch gator who’d chomped onto her leg.
Juliana Ossa was in water just two feet deep in a swimming area of Moss Park in Orlando, Florida last Saturday. Out of nowhere, she felt a sharp pressure and pain around her left knee and thigh. Seeing it was a huge fucking gator, she screamed. But then the girl, whose friends call her “Warrior” lived up to her nickname, and fought back.
She told NBC’s Today, “I tried hitting it on its forehead to let me go. That didn’t work, so I thought of a plan they taught in Gatorland.” Based on the advice of a gator expert she’d learned from the local tourist attraction, Ossa knew to go for the gator’s nostrils. “So I stuck my two fingers up its nose so it couldn’t breathe — it had to breathe from its mouth — and he opened it, so it let my leg out.”
From there, her family rushed the brave little girl to the hospital, where she was treated for puncture wounds. But aside from 10-14 stitches, she’s in great shape. She’s even laughing about it now, remarking how the croc was probably disappointed she wasn’t a “ginormous chicken.”
ABC news spoke with the professional alligator wrangler whose words saved Ossa’s life, and Donald Aldarelli praised the girl’s quick thinking, but noted, “To get an animal with the strongest bite on the planet to let go of you is a miracle.”
In the following video, you can see Ossa and her incredible composure as she recounts her brush with death. But trigger warning, you’ll also see the gator who attacked her, and was subsequently killed by a trapper.
Local officials are looking into how to better improve safety of this swimming area, which currently has a lifeguard and signs warning to look out for gators. When such measures fail, Ossa suggests others follow her example. “If you’re ever in an alligator emergency,” She told Today, “Do the same thing (I did). Don’t be scared.”