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.

Rebecca, who visited her brother in the hospital, said he told her that as the alligator approached him he grabbed the skin under the animal's mouth to try to prevent it from biting him.

After preventing the initial attack, Fred tried to swim away from the gator, Rebecca Langdale said.

"When he turned to swim, it grabbed his arm," she said. "And he knew once it grabbed his arm, he was going to lose it."

"So he put both his feet on the alligator's head and pushed and pretty much took his own arm off before the alligator could," Rebecca said.

Langdale's aunt, LaDawn Hayes, said Fred learned the move from watching "Swamp Men," according to the News-Press.

"He knows if he offers (the gator) his arm, he won't take his torso. He was smart, he took the risk," another of Fred's friends, Matthew Baker, told WINK.

Beck told CNN affiliate WBBH that after freeing himself from the gator, Langdale called for help.

"He was waving saying, 'Call the paramedics! My arm is gone!'" WBBH quoted Beck as saying.

The gator was later caught and killed by trappers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The boy's arm was recovered, according to reports, but the doctors were unable to reattach it.

Glades County Sheriff Stuart Whiddon told WINK that gator attacks are rare in the area, but fish and wildlife officials said this is an active time of year for the reptiles.

"It's just after mating season, eggs are already laid, but the gators are still very active," WINK quoted Jeff Ardelean as saying. "Any type of commotion on the water is potential food in their eyes."

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Filed under: Alligators • Animals • Florida
soundoff (505 Responses)
  1. Bayousara

    So WHHYYYY did they have to kill it? It was doing what 'gators do naturally. The kid knew there were gators in that river! You go in, you take chances. But to kill it was typical of people in the south.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeProfet

      That had to kill is to try and recover the arm in the, although unlikely event it might have been reattached. I suppose they could of used water and baking soda to try and make the gator throw up... LOL

      July 10, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • TMAC

      I'm assuming they killed the gator to get the arm back so they could attempt to re-attach it

      July 10, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Henrietta

      I heard the boy wanted to make a robotic prosthetic limb out of the gator's own arm. Revenge. I suppose they could have just captured the gator and taken his arm, but then he'd need revenge, and that sort of cycle never ends well.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Blake

      II'm assuming they killed the gator in attempt to recover and reattach the arm. Also, an animal who attacks a human is likely to do it again.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • megbw

      Well, first off, these aren't Bengal tigers or anything. They come a dime a dozen here in Florida and we do use their meat and skin for various purposes when they are killed. Second, most gators tend to leave humans alone, but those that are aggressive pose a real threat and should be taken out to avoid future attakcs. And one more thing, we Southerners know better but many tourists do not and tend to feed and attract gators, therefore making them more likely to harass and hurt human beings. So, stick to what you do know and shut up about the whole stupid South crap.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • JudgeDB

      They had to kill it because once a gator successfully attacks a human, it is much more likely to do so again.

      July 10, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Zac

      They have kill the gator to prevent future human attacks.

      July 10, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • elmanyacko

      Oncw animals taste human blood, they will hunt it. so youo have to kill him or he'll continue to attack humans.

      July 10, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |

      Gators are good to eat. For god sakes, they breed like rabbits, but kill like lions.

      July 10, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      Once an alligator attacks a human, you HAVE to kill it because it then views humans as a food source.

      July 10, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      It is very rare for an alligator that has not been tampered with to attack a human. Removing the occasional nuisance gator is just common sense. 99.9% of gators will go the other way when a human comes near. Especially one the size of a grown man (17 years old). Of course anyone swimming in Florida should be aware of the risk, no matter how small. I'm sure this kid was more aware than most since he actually had a defense plan by the time the thing got to him. Animals attack once in a while and it frequently turns out bad for both as in this case.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • SeeYouLaterAlligator

      I personally think the gator didn't mean any 'arm. Couldn't they have let it go and said boys will be boys? The lad offered his arm? Good job the gator wasn't a leg man. I'll stop now, hope he has a speedy recovery and learns from this!!

      July 10, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • keith

      they kill all caught gators beyond 9 feet in length, i believe.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Darin

    Let go swim in gator infested waters! Woohooo!

    July 10, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Ace

      I don't understand why people swin in gator infested water.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • JudgeDB

      I guess Darin stays inside all day in his mother's basement. Otherwise he'd risk hiking where there are bears and mountain lions, walking the streets where there are wolves/coyotes/starving stray dogs, etc. There are dangers everywhere, but in reality things like this don't happen very often.

      July 10, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      I do not understand why people get in cars since it is about 100 times more dangerous than swimming in a Florida river.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  3. JoeProfet

    Here's your sign!

    July 10, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. jenny

    why did they kill the gator...????? geez, humans swimming where gators just laid their eggs.....protective mother.....for g sake, they did not have to go kill the gator for protecting its home......natural intinct....

    July 10, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      No not really. It is very rare for an alligator to attack a human. You have no idea why this one did. However, a gator that is known to show no instinctual aversion to humans is an ongoing hazard. To remove the rare nuisance gator is sensible. Its not like they are endangered anymore. I happen to like alligators a lot and we have many that live in our neighborhood and we all seem to coexist quite well. All it takes is for the humans to be smart and everyone leaves each other alone.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. John

    It is normal practice to kill a predator that has attacked a human. Once a predatory animal finds that humans are easily caught, there is a higher risk that this particular animal will attack humans again.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • quagz


      July 10, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Exactly, it purely a practical matter.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. JoeProfet

    In the famous words of the late Steve Irwin, "DANGER, DANGER, DANGER!"

    July 10, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. Adam

    Because it has a taste for human blood now. It has to be put down to prevent hunting techniques taught to it's kids. What's typical of people in the north is ignorance. In many things.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Lorelei

    Typical of the south? There's your sign! Just like a shark or any other animal that tastes human flesh, if it feeds once it will hunt in the future to find more. People don't just swim for their leisure there, they work there too. Everyone has encroached upon wildlife where ever they may be...ridiculous to assume otherwise. Unless he was near the brush where the nests were, the gator most likely was not "protecting" their home.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. jeremyjones948

    Alligator populations have exploded in the past two decades, back from the brink of extinction. Responsible hunters and smart legislation made this possible. Sorry the kid lost his arm but it comes with the territory when you swim in the swamp. I don't surf anymore because the Bull Shark populations are so high near where I live. But that's a good thing, and that's my choice.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. noneckmd

    I'm sorry only a complete idiot would swim in any fresh water lakes in Flordia!

    July 10, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • kate

      totally with you on that!

      July 10, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      So it would take an extreme mor.on to get in a car since it is many times more dangerous. Been out for a drive lately?

      July 10, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. PantyRaid

    I would have kept the bones from my arm and the head of the gator. I'm creepy like that.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. PoBoy

    "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," That statement and the fact that they're from SW Florida says it all. These backwoods 'Bamas sound like they're very proud of Fred for the way he lost his arm to that big bad gator. He be a man now!

    July 10, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Cee

    This shows that watching National Geographic is much more rewarding that playing games on the computer.
    Though a sad story the fact he is alive and able to share his story is good news.

    This 17 year old I consider a hero in his own rights.

    July 10, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      "This 17 year old I consider a hero in his own rights."

      time for you to look up the definition of hero

      July 10, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      "hero"? No. Educated and able to think quick under extreme duress? Yes.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. storybookceramics

    Flesh eating bacteria, flesh eating gators, face eating aliens....What are we to DO!?!

    July 10, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Will S

      Not swim in muddy water with gators?

      July 10, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • rad666

      Add face eating zombies to your list.

      July 10, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Get back on your meds?

      July 10, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. cdgfla

    Move the H away from Florida. Between face eaters, child killers, child molestors, and skeletor in the governor's office, this place isn't safe for normal people.

    July 10, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Actually, the only one that scares me is the governor.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
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