When Glen Bonin and three of his friends recently encountered an 11-foot alligator in the middle of a road south of Sulphur, Louisiana, their first impulse was to try and move it. Now Bonin is recuperating after 80 stitches to his hand—and he is thankful the large reptile did not bite it off entirely.
“I’ve always been the kind of guy who learns the hard way,” Bonin told KPLC.
The alligator was reportedly blocking traffic on Prater Road when Bonin first approached it. The encounter was filmed from a nearby car as Bonin and two other men took off their shirts to throw over the alligator’s eyes, presumably to make it easier to haul the animal to the side of the road. Their attempts were made more problematic by the agitated alligator, which snapped its powerful jaws throughout the ordeal. The men were successful in dragging the animal to the shoulder, but a move to restrain the alligator quickly turned for the worse when the creature chomped down on Bonin’s hand.
“(We) took our shirts off, threw it on his (the alligator’s) face, and we were going to come from behind it and jump on it […] in the process of doing that, it spun around and grabbed my hand seconds before we jumped on it,” Bonin said.
While the saltwater crocodile may boast the strongest bite in the animal kingdom with a force of 3,700 pounds per square inch, the American alligator does not lag far behind. The quick snap from the 11-foot beast was more than capable of severing Bonin’s hand at the wrist. Thankfully, he suffered multiple puncture wounds but kept the hand.
Bonin is also receiving some sharp criticism for approaching the alligator himself instead of calling the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (DWF) for a professional hunter to remove the animal. The Daily Mail reported that the men may have been intoxicated while trying to handle the reptile, and the video also showed what appeared to be kicks and taunts aimed at the animal.
The DWF advises people to stay away from alligators as a rule of thumb. If residents see an alligator that is not actively moving towards people or otherwise acting aggressively, the DWF states it might be wise to wait a few days before calling wildlife officials. The alligator will likely move on its own. Alligators naturally retreat when approached by humans, so any animal that moves toward a person, especially leaving water to give chase, should be immediate reported to the DWF.
Always remember: alligators are much faster than they look. Even large specimens can run up to 35 miles per hour over short distances. The DWF estimates there are about two million wild alligators in the state, as well as an additional 300,000 on farms.
You can watch part of the encounter below: