Florida man gets 62 stitches after 250-pound alligator attack

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. – A Port St. Lucie man is recounting the terrifying moments when he was bitten on the leg by an 8-foot alligator while walking his dog.

Mark Johnson, 61, said he and his dog, Rex, were walking near a canal Sunday morning around 9:30 a.m. He said he slid and that’s when his foot got stuck in the mud.

"The next thing I know, I see the lunge,” Johnson said. “He starts clamping down pretty tight and he started to pull, and the next thing I do, I instantly, here’s my fingers, I poke through the eye.”

Johnson said the gator was trying to drag him under the water.

“I had to do something. That’s why I say you have seconds to react. Luckily, he opened up. He could have easily started tearing flesh and after flesh you’re talking bone and twisting and that’s a leg removal.”

Johnson went to a local hospital where it took 62 stitches to close up cuts and holes in his right leg.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, an alligator trapper responded to the area and captured the alligator Wednesday, which Treasure Coast Newspapers reported measured 8 feet, 6 inches and weighed nearly 250 pounds. Johnson said that is more than his own weight.

The reptile has been relocated to an alligator farm.

[RELATED: Facts about the American alligator from the FWC.]

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.