“Florida Man” is a phrase often synonymous with “Look at this fool” and smug schadenfreude. However, today’s Florida Man is a brave hero, who rescued his beloved dog from the hungry jaws of a Florida Alligator.
It all began when Gunner, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, got too close to the pond near a retirement home in Estero, Florida. A gator leapt out and snatched the pup. So, his owner, 74-year-old Richard Wilbanks, leapt into action—and the water! It was all caught on tape by cameras set up by the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fSTOP Foundation.
Take a look at the video that drove Twitter wild.
saved the puppy from getting eaten by an alligator and never dropped his cigar, a true legend pic.twitter.com/ryRSfZqOsy— juan vidal (@itsjuanlove) November 22, 2020
Wilbanks went after the gator, plunged his hands in its jaws, and plucked his puppy out—while never losing his cool or his cigar. As the kids say, that’s king sh*t.
The Guardian spoke to Wilbanks about this wild incident. “[The gator] came out of the water like a missile,” he said. “I never thought an alligator could be that fast. It was so quick.”
After exiting the pond, Gunner was taken to a veterinarian, where it was discovered he had only one small puncture wound to the belly. The dog is expected to make a full recovery, and he will be kept on a leash near water from now on.
As for Wilbanks, he’s described his hands as “chewed up,” but is in good spirits and holds no ill will against the gator.
“They’re part of nature,” he told the press, “And part of our lives.”
Header Image Source: Florida Wildlife Federation and the fSTOP Foundation