Mario Aldecoa, who feeds and photographs the reptiles at the Everglades Alligator Farm in Homestead, said the alligator grabbed his camera while he was taking night shots of a pond with about 200 gators in February, WFOR-TV, Miami, reported Tuesday.
"A flash went off and an alligator just grabbed the camera. It was just a split-second [lunge] forward," Aldecoa said. "I was able to grab the tripod leg as the alligator grabbed the camera. So I'm holding on to the leg and he was pulling me in the water. I was pulling back as hard as I can and with one swipe of his head he just took it out of my hand completely."
Aldecoa said the camera recently resurfaced.
"Eight months later, they are doing an alligator feeding show and alligator walks out of the pond and the camera strap is attached to its leg and it brings the camera on land," he said.
He said the camera itself was badly damaged, with chew marks on its exterior and sand filling its interior. However, he said he was able to salvage a single picture from the camera's memory card.
"In the image you see in the distance lots of alligators. Little orbs of red from their eyes and the front portion you see three or four really big gators. And I'm pretty sure one of those is the one that grabbed the camera." Aldecoa said.
He said the camera and the picture will be put on display at the alligator farm.