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. Phil Rogtal

    It's sad to read about a youngling losing an appendage. But it is unacceptable to kill the alligator that did the damage. It was only the animal's intinct. (S)he has to do what is necessary to survive and feed her/his offspring, which means catching food when it is available. Humans are rarely punished for killing animals, even when it is not for food. And if a penalty is due, it is only to pay a few dollars, not to be euthanized. Acts like this cause me to lose faith in the majority of humankind.

    July 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coexist

      @ Phil, they kill these beasts that have tasted human flesh because with that comes the tendency to do it more. And if unabated, you'll read of the gator chasing down kids in isolated areas just to eat them. That is unacceptable to many. But I'm sure you beg to differ.

      July 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alligatorsoup

    Hi mom...

    July 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alligatorsoup

    look at me.. i'm cool.

    July 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dentate

    Where was Steve Irwin when we needed him?!?!

    July 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • electricgrendel

      Still dead.

      July 26, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • warsteiner

      Who needs Steve we got Swamp guys, This kid has some stones huh

      July 29, 2012 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. dale


    July 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Koi

    I love the comments saying, "Why kill the poor gator, it was just doing what it has always done?" Like Coexist has said, once they get a taste for human flesh they're more likely to go after people again. It's like when dogs get put down for biting someone, if they bite once, they'll do it again.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ridddddikulus

      That is actually a HUGE myth. As egotistical as human beings are by thinking they taste different from any other animal in a way that makes that animal suddenly "need" to kill humans from there on it is...... IT'S A BUNCH OF BULL.

      Just like the idea that if a dog bites a person, it will always do so. Most dog bites happen, because stupid people don't understand that "cute" dog has NO INTEREST in letting a stranger touch them.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • anthony mason

      The alligator did nothing wrong. How about the jamokes swimming in alligator infested water? You sir are just as dumb as the rocket scientists swimming in the river.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      "once they get a taste for human flesh they're more likely to go after people again"

      A lot of those folk sayings have no basis whatsoever in reality. We go kill the alligator or bear or dog or whatever purely out of fear and vengeance, not because we actually think the animal has discovered that human flesh is incredibly tasty and will change its behavior specifically to seek out more of it over its normal food sources.

      July 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smart Human

      @Koi, "once they get a taste for human flesh they're more likely to go after people again." NO THEY DON'T, IDIOT. QUIT MAKING STUFF UP.

      August 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Soup-San

    I just want to state for the record you ALL are a bunch of idiots. Evey single stinking one of you. Pretty damn rare to find this much stupid in one place, even on the internet.

    July 13, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Igottagetalife

      Look in the mirror Soup=San

      July 15, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wally

    I read yesterday at "another news source" that the arm was recovered from the gator, with some possibility of it being reattached surgically. If there indeed was a chance that this could be done, it would seem to justify killing the gator.

    July 13, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Greg

    Humans are also doing what they have done for thousands of years... Killing. So stop worrying about a poor alligator. It's nature. Survival of the fittest. Kill the alligator so there is one less to attack people. It's life people. Stop hugging trees

    July 14, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. mike nice

    next time stay away from the swap and swin like aquaman lol

    July 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Yam Spam

    Why in the HELL are you swimming in gator-infested waters, anyway?

    July 14, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Greg

    If the alligator has attacked a human, that is certainly a good enough reason to kill it. To anyone who thinks differently, I look forward to having this conversation again after you are thrown in with a bunch of alligators that have previously attacked humans.

    July 14, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smart Human


      August 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. idiotsinhere

    Are humans an aquatic species? For those on here that I can tell have no clue what that means, it means live life in water. A human invaded the gators' territory and the kid paid the price. It's the risk you take when you get in the rivers in the south. I have the liberty to say that, I spent my childhood growing up in Louisiana. The real question is where were his parents and why did they allow him to be in the river. Go to a pool!

    July 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. evan

    Ridddddikulus is right....and y would they teach him to rip his arm off

    July 16, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NorCalMojo

    Tough kid.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
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