Teen uses 'Swamp Men' move to save self from alligator
Trappers pull an alligator from the water after a Florida teen lost an arm to a gator in an attack Monday.
July 10th, 2012
09:15 AM ET

Teen uses 'Swamp Men' move to save self from alligator

A Florida teenager lost part of his arm in an alligator attack on Monday, but the boy's family says the outcome could have been worse if the 17-year-old hadn't been a fan of the National Geographic show "Swamp Men."

Kaleb "Fred" Langdale was swimming with friends in in the Caloosahatchee River in Moore Haven in southwest Florida when an 11-foot alligator attacked, according to a report from CNN affliate WINK-TV.

"As soon as he'd seen Fred, the gator was coming after him. On top of the water, as fast as he could pedal, his tail was wagging back and forth, he was coming," Langdale's friend Gary Beck told WINK.

That's when the teen's TV gator knowledge kicked in, his sister, Rebecca Langdale, said in an interview with the Fort Myers News Press.

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Filed under: Alligators • Animals • Florida
Gotta Watch: Dangerous jobs
Calling all alligator hunters - the state of Texas needs you!
May 2nd, 2012
08:41 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Dangerous jobs

There are some men and women who don't fear danger or even risking their lives at work. For some, the adrenaline rush of pushing themselves to the edge keeps their jobs interesting and rewarding.  CNN.com has collected video of some of these risk-takers putting their lives on the line. Watch as an alligator hunter, firefighter and window washer are caught in precarious positions that will put a chill up your spine.

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Need a job? Texas needs gator hunters

Texas officials say the state needs more alligator hunters to provide his or her services.

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Fireman: Roof under him 'just dropped'

A life and death moment for Michigan fighters caught on tape, as a roof collapsed under them. WXYZ reports.

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Window washer saved from fall

A Seattle man is safe on the ground after hanging from a building. KOMO reports.

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Filed under: Alligators • Animals • Fire • Gotta Watch • Michigan • Survivor Stories • Texas • U.S. • Washington state
A true reptilian in Washington
Oleander lives in the basement of the U.S. Commerce Department.
November 26th, 2011
08:00 AM ET

A true reptilian in Washington

Just look at the polls about how Americans are viewing some of the inhabitants of Washington.

It's as though they’re saying, "Some of these creatures in Washington aren’t following the rules of civilized society. They only seem to care about saving their own skin."

Downright reptilian, those dismal approval numbers say.

What the polls don’t show is that those creatures aren’t necessarily politicians. Some of them are living in the basement of the U.S. Commerce Department.

Right now, there’s an albino alligator there. On purpose.

(Click the audio player to hear more on this story from CNN Radio's Libby Lewis.)


It turns out that the National Aquarium – the original one – is in the basement of the U.S. Commerce Department. And it's been there been since 1932.

So upstairs, they’re talking about economic indicators (and maybe presidential candidates who want to make the Commerce Department extinct).

Downstairs, in the cool dark basement, it’s piranhas and pythons and a lone albino alligator named Oleander.

She got here in the fall, when a lot of creatures move to D.C. She’s got pale luminescent skin and mesmerizing eyes that look like pink crystal marbles.

CNN got an exclusive interview with her handler, Ryan Dumas, a herpetologist for the National Aquarium. As far as Oleander goes, he’s like your typical Washington aide.

Dumas: I take care of her every need here. I guess you could say I’m the chief aide. Anything that happens with her, I pretty much know about or made happen.

CNN: She hasn’t been here long. But she already looks like she’s used to holding out for what she wants.

Dumas: Absolutely. As far as eating goes, we’ve tried a number of different fish, different species of rodents.  She really has only an affinity right now for a smaller-sized frozen rat.

CNN: So she’s like some of these Washington types that develop strange appetites once they get here.

Dumas: Exactly.

CNN: But she doesn’t make those midnight calls to room service, because she has you, right?

Dumas: Yeah. And she doesn’t have thumbs, so it’s hard to dial. But she’s pretty low-maintenance, which is probably atypical for a lot of people in this area.

CNN: She’s albino. That raises a delicate color question. She’s not red or blue.

Dumas: Nope. She is all white.  Albinism is the lack of all dark pigments. She’s dark-pigment free.

CNN: So you could say she’s post-racial.

Dumas:  There are more than 2 million gators in the U.S. in the wild.  There are less than a hundred known albinos.

CNN: So she’s definitely in the 1%.

Dumas: Definitely.

CNN: How about her work habits?

Dumas: Alligators spend a large chunk of time doing absolutely nothing. They’re an ambush predator for the most part. They’re going to sit around and wait for something to come by. If it doesn’t, they’re fine.

Some would say Oleander will flourish here.

And, she believes in term limits. She’s only in Washington until February. Then she goes back home to her alligator farm in Florida.

She knows nobody should stay in Washington for too long.

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Filed under: Alligators
Gotta Watch: Big - REALLY big - critters
If you think the 13-foot, 900 pound gator this Massachusetts woman caught is exceptionally large, wait until you see what a group of villagers caught in the Philippines.
September 7th, 2011
10:01 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Big - REALLY big - critters

Few things are as intriguing as uber large animals. Sure you've seen big dogs or cats, but we're talking about HUGE, rare creatures that make you want to do a double take. It's all on the heels of our most popular video yesterday, featuring footage of a one-ton crocodile. In case you missed it, it's at the end of our blog, but you've gotta watch other ginormous land and sea creatures.
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Filed under: Alligators • Animals • Gotta Watch • Sharks • Snakes
Gotta Watch: Animals on the run
Police try to capture a runaway bull in Washington.
August 11th, 2011
11:24 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Animals on the run

This news week has been full of runaways. We had the siblings on the run in Colorado and now a bull on the run in Washington. So, we thought we'd take a look back at animals on the run. You've gotta watch their evasive maneuvers.
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Filed under: Alligators • Animals • Gotta Watch
July 12th, 2011
10:48 AM ET

Gator bites boy at park after man lets reptile out

A man at an Indiana amusement park pulled a small alligator out of its enclosure, offered some children the chance to pet it and then fled when the gator bit an 11-year-old boy, police said.

"Someone we're still trying to identify was able to get one of the alligators out," said Sgt. Michael Grennes of the Valparaiso Police Department.

Grennes said the police are investigating Monday's incident and it's unclear what charges, if any, the man may face.

A Valparaiso police incident report said the man took a pole with string attached, which patrons may use to feed gators from a distance, to create a noose and pull out an alligator. After fishing the reptile out of its enclosure, the man told some children they could pet the alligator, the report said.

"The alligator snipped at one of the fingers of one of the kids that was there," Grennes said.

According to the police report, the boy was injured on his right index finger. Grennes said the injury was not serious.

Grennes said a woman believed to have been with the man at the time has since said she cannot identify him.

"She continues to tell us she doesn't know who he is," Grennes said.

The Valparaiso park, called Zao Island, is a small family entertainment center that includes go-karts and mini golf  as well as the live alligators.

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Filed under: Alligators • Indiana
Gotta Watch: Weird water life
Fishermen found a 23-foot-long giant squid off the Florida coast.
June 30th, 2011
09:47 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Weird water life

Is that a giant squid? You bet it is. We go under the sea for today's Gotta Watch and capture some of the intriguing things the ocean has to offer. Check out new breeds of life, a feeding frenzy sure to give you chills and a squid that would make a ton of ink.
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Filed under: Alligators • Animals • Gotta Watch
May 27th, 2011
06:17 PM ET

Florida boy wrestles 6-foot alligator back to house

Michael Dasher thought he had hooked a good-sized fish Wednesday.

The 10-year-old and two friends were fishing in a canal near his home in Rockledge in Brevard County, Florida, when the line snapped.

Michael's buddy, Kentral Welch, thought his friend was reeling in a big one "...until I saw his face," CNN affiliate WKMG in Orlando reported.

What they were staring at was a 5-foot-9 long alligator, which charged at the boys. Michael says he used a stick and even got on the animal's back. Then Michael dragged the gator home.

Wildlife officers were called and said they had to tell Michael he could have been charged with a felony for capturing an alligator. He says he learned his lesson. Next time, he'll just out run it.


Filed under: Alligators • Animals • Florida • Nature
Gotta Watch: Wayward gators, chopper blasts calf, blizzard buries deck
December 28th, 2010
11:21 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Wayward gators, chopper blasts calf, blizzard buries deck

Wayward gators – As part of this week's Gotta Watch, CNN.com is featuring some of our favorite videos from this year. Today, we're rolling out our finest alligator videos from 2010. Alligators have a tendency to end up where they are unwelcome and, as you can probably guess, the fate of some of these gators is a bit grim.

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July 27th, 2010
06:01 PM ET

Fisherman catches alligator 'feeding frenzy' on video

"I ain't never seen so many gators in my life."
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Filed under: Alligators • Nature