10-Year-Old Girl Pries Open Alligator's Mouth, Escapes Attack

A 10-year-old girl attacked by an alligator in central Florida was able to break free from the reptile after prying its jaws open, authorities said.

The girl was with her family at Moss Park in Orange County when she was bitten Saturday, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. 

Wildlife commission spokesman Chad Weber said the girl was sitting in shallow water when the 8-foot-9-inch gator bit her on her knee and calf. About dozen people were swimming nearby when the girl began screaming for help.

The girl was able to pry open the alligator's jaws to free her legs, an accident report states, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

She was taken to a local hospital with puncture wounds. Her injuries were not life-threatening.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that during the attack the girl remembered a piece of advice she learned during a trip to Orlando's Gatorland: poke the gator in the nose.

"If you're ever in that position where an alligator were to grab a hold of you, the nose, not the eyes, the nose is the spot you want to go for," Donald Aldarelli, a trainer at the alligator-themed attraction, said. "I'm just happy that she heard it here. I'm happy that she remembered."

Wildlife officials trapped the alligator and euthanized it.

Orange County Parks and Recreation manager Matt Suedmeyer said the park's waterfront areas were closed to swimmers for safety until further notice.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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