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Gator expert says go for the eyes, nostrils and put up a fight during an attack

Posted at 7:28 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 04:11:21-04

It’s an incredible story of survival -- a 10-year-old girl was attacked by an alligator over the weekend in Orlando.

The gator clamped down on her leg, but she managed to free herself by shoving two fingers inside the gator’s nostrils. It's a tip she says she learned from a gator expert at a wildlife park.

Experts say this is a perfect example of why wildlife education is so important. While a gator only has a few sensitive areas, remembering them could save your life.

"The fact that she had the presence of mind," said reptile expert Kenan Harkin.

Harkin says gators are called “murder logs" for a reason. Knowing the strength and power of these creatures, he says that little girl’s story is one in a million.

“It’s so important to put up a fight because in some case you may win,” said Harkin.

He says if you find yourself already in a gator's grasp, there are a few things you can do to better your chances of getting away.

“If you find yourself with a foot in the animal’s mouth, go for the eyes. Go for the nostril."

However, he says the most important tips are the preventative ones. Harkin says avoid swimming at dawn or dusk, and certainly don’t swim in waters where gators could be living.

“Don’t fool with alligators or crocodiles. There’s not many sensitive spots on that animal.”

Harkin says often gators lose their fear of people because they feed the animals.