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River Guide Loses Hand Feeding Gator

Animal killed, hand reattachment fails

A Florida tour boat captain lost a hand in the Everglades on Tuesday after enticing an alligator with fish and marshmallows. Airboat guide Wallace "Wally" Weatherholt, 63, intended to give the six tourists on board a thrilling photo by baiting nearby alligators. As he slapped the water, a nine-foot gator lunged from the water and bit off Weatherholt's left hand, swallowing it whole. Authorities euthanized the alligator and were able to retrieve the hand from its stomach, but efforts to reattach the body part failed. Weatherholt faces fines and even prison time if Florida Fish and Wildlife officials prove he illegally fed the animals. "You embolden them when you feed them.... They've been taught that people mean food," alligator expert Jim Nesci said.

Read more at The Los Angeles Times

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Filed To: News