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Stan and Haney

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American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in Pearl River on Honey Island Reserve on summer morning, Slidell, Louisiana.

What started off as a routine fossil hunt in the Myakka River turned into a deadly gator encounter for 25-year-old Jeffrey Heim.

On Sunday, May 30th, he went diving in the Myakka River for fossiled Megladon teeth. Barely even a minute into his dive he felt immense pressure on his head. At first, he thought he was hit by a boat, but it turned out to be the mouth of an Alligator.

The gator let go of his head and he was staring at the creature that was only 4 feet away from him. He managed to slowly back away from the gator before it could come at him a second time.

He got out of the water and was able to yell for help from people close by. They called EMS and within five minutes he was receiving medical attention.

He told NBC2 News, “I look up and the gator’s just looking at me about four feet in front of me. Then he started coming at me. I just learned from dealing with sharks, you don’t wanna act like prey so you don’t wanna move too fast. So, I started slowly moving away.”

He has no ill will towards the creature, even though it almost took his head off. He said, “I was in its territory. I didn’t weigh the risk to the rewards. Technically it’s gator mating season, so this was probably a female protecting her eggs.”

His head is covered in stitches and is currently recovering. He is unable to work and has set up a GoFundMe to hold him over until he has fully recovered.

 

Junior is the producer of the Stan and Haney show. He's a sucker for gelato and watching Hulu shows. When he's not working, he's probably exercising excessively, reading endless books, or taking long walks on the dog beach by himself. Because why not?