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. ronjayaz

    A gruesome story, indeed. I never understood how anyone cud share his/her living quarters with crocodiles, bears or any wild animals for that matter. It's so safe here in southern Arizona.

    July 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • donna

      Yeah, just drug smuggler, illegals, rattlesnakes, tarantulas and scorpions – real safe.

      July 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • montyross

      more people are killed by illegals than gators....

      July 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TheOriginalMe

    I always said that there's places that humans shouldn't be, but we think we're the smartest creatures in the planet and this is what happen.
    Kid did the best he could to survive, and arm was a low price to pay for continuing living

    July 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HughMungus

    He should have the gator taxidermied with the arm hanging out of it's mouth.

    July 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      Hugh, it would make an interesting conversation piece!

      July 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • MargieM

      Very cool, yet gruesome, idea!

      July 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Clete

    May not know how to read, but know enough not to swim in rivers with alligators or crocodiles.

    July 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • clete, you imbecile!

      Weak reply Clete. You clearly are as dumb as others have pointed out.

      July 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clete

      but I still have both my arms

      July 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Aeromechanic

    Question here. If this kid knew so much about gators, what the hell was he doing swimming in a river in southwest Florida?

    July 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Imwith

    Here is thought...maybe it is just dumb to live in Florida

    July 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Cantstandya

      I live in Florida and love it . I am smart enough to swim in my pool. There are a few of use that use our noodle lmao.

      July 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eva Slade

    I was rooting for the gator!!

    July 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Argle Bargle

    Why anyone would want to live in Florida, let alone swim there, is beyond comprehension.

    July 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. A Different View

    Sort of reminds me of the boy who lost his arm to a shark last year at a Florida beach. Why anyone would be swimming in an ocean where sharks exist, is beyond me. Same as swimming in a river where alligators exist.

    July 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kristen

    Yea you do still have your arms but you obviously DON'T deserve them!

    July 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Expatmom

    On one hand, you have hungry alligators. On the other, oh! Never mind!

    July 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MrApplesauce

    I love alligators.

    Gator burgers, gator nuggets, gator fricassee, gator gumbo, grilled gator, fried gator, broiled gator...

    July 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. George Cantstandya

    The teen could not have been that smart. You do not swim in lakes in Florida PERIOD!

    July 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. geelolickers

    Ahh I was wondering when this "poor alligator" comment was gonna pop up. Maybe someday you'll get an appendage bitten off by an animal; if it makes the news, I'll be there to call you stubby 😉

    July 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • logical

      Killing an animal for doing what is has done for millions of years does not make sense...Humans have intellignece for a reason...AVOID THE DANGERS...no sympathy here...you mess with the bull...you get the horns...

      July 13, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      I have to disagree. I don't know, but if this is an area that has been claimed by humans, then they're just doing what they've been doing for a 100,000 years. Protecting their territory and ensuring their continuing safety. If this is in the middle of the Everglades, then it's just a vengeance killing.

      July 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Yep, and the humans are just doing in their territory what they have been doing for many hundreds of thousands of years – killing the thing that is a threat to humans. It is Natural Selection – threaten the humans, and you die.

      July 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. wildone


    July 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
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