Officials say an alligator bit off part of a golfer’s arm as he leaned over to pick up his ball at a private South Carolina course.
The man, who is in his 70s, was retrieving his ball from a pond when the 10-foot alligator bit him at Ocean Creek Golf Course in Beaufort County. The gator pulled the golfer into the pond and ripped off his arm in the struggle. His golf partners were able to free him.
Wildlife workers killed the alligator and retrieved the arm in the hopes it might be reattached.
The man was rushed to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, then air-evacuated to Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston.
The alligator was caught and killed. His stomach was cut open and the man’s arm retrieved for possible reattachment at MUSC.
An average adult American alligator’s weight and length is 800 pounds and 13 feet. Large ones grow to 14.5 feet long and weigh 1,000 pounds. The average lifespan for an alligator is 50 years.
Although alligators have a heavy body and a slow metabolism, they are capable of short bursts of speed, especially in very short lunges, such as apparently happened in the Fripp Island attack.
Alligators’ main prey is smaller animals that they can kill and eat with a single bite, such as small dogs. Alligators may kill larger prey, such as a man, by grabbing the body and dragging it into the water to drown. Attacks on humans are rare as alligators normally are very wary of them.
Alligators consume food that they cannot swallow in one bite by biting and then spinning or convulsing wildly until bite-size chunks are torn off. This is referred to as a “death roll,” which is reported to have been the event that resulted in the Fripp Island golfer losing his arm.