The North Carolina scientist whose entire arm almost became a snack for an angry alligator has one piece of advice for the millions of people who saw his attempts to wrangle the gator in a video.
“Don’t try this at home and I would just say, don’t try this period,” Fred Boyce said today on “Good Morning America.”
Boyce, a scientist at the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium on North Carolina’s far Eastern shore, was captured on an iPhone video approaching a 250-pound alligator on the side of a highway during an after-hours call on Tuesday.
The gator was resting in a ditch when Boyce threw a towel on its head. He then stepped inside of the ditch, straddled the gator from behind its head, and then grabbed it. The gator flipped around, tossing the towel from its eyes, and grabbed Boyce’s arm around the bicep.
With Boyce on the ground, kicking and struggling to back away, the gator let go and stared at Boyce with its mouth open until Boyce got out of the ditch.
“The alligator was actually nice and let me off easy compared to what he could have done,” Boyce said on “GMA.” “They [alligators] have a jaw closing pressure of somewhere around 1,500 pounds per square inch… depending on the size of the alligator, or possibly even more.”
Boyce arrived to the scene thinking that officials from the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission would also be on hand to relocate the lost gator. When they were not, he jumped in.
“That’s a question I still haven’t really figured out myself,” Boyce said when asked why he took on the beast himself. “When it was all going on things kind of progressed rapidly and I think I was thinking how embarrassed I was going to be by all this probably more than anything else. You know, this is not good.”
Boyce, who has worked with alligators for years in both wild and captive settings, said what has really embarrassed him, however, is the national media attention he’s gained after the iPhone video of his wildlife close encounter went viral.
“I still haven’t quite clued into this digital age that we live in and the idea that people have video cameras handy at all times,” he said. “Of course I thought I was just performing for a small group of first-responders and deputy sheriffs. I thought that was the only people there. Little did I know.”
Boyce sustained injuries to his arm and was taken to a hospital. He is now recovering at home and said his arm is “fine.”
Officials from the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission arrived at the scene nearly two hours after Boyce’s first attempt to relocate the alligator. They, along with the rescue officials already on the scene when Boyce first arrived, persuaded the would-be wrangler to not take a second-go at the gator.
“They [rescue officials] were thinking, I think, a lot more clearly than I was possibly,” he said. “I was awfully glad they were there.”
“They were on the scene already when I arrived,” he said. “They had the ambulance there and I remember joking around with them that I was glad they were there because I might be needing you guys in a few minutes.”
As for the gator, he was finally relocated and now calls a swamp in nearby Carteret County home.
ABC News’ Alyssa Newcomb contributed to this report.