Florida woman bitten on head by nine-foot alligator

Marissa Carr says she feels ‘really, really lucky’ to have lived to tell the tale

Amelia Neath
Wednesday 08 November 2023 14:34 GMT
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Gator bite was a 'case of mistaken identity'

A Florida woman was chomped on the head by a huge nine-foot alligator – but insisted that she has no hard feelings towards the creature who probably thought she “was just food”.

Marissa Carr was snorkelling with her friend Shane at Alexander Springs Recreation Area near Ocala on Sunday when an alligator came up behind her and bit her on the forehead.

Ms Carr said it happened so quickly that she didn’t even realise what had happened at first.

It wasn’t until she saw the alligator lurking behind her in the water that she registered the pain coming from her head.

“I ripped the mask off, and I turn and see the two little eyes sticking out of the water,” she said in an interview with Fox35.

She added: “It didn’t hurt bad in the moment. And then, like, as I was running back and like, I saw what it was, that’s when it started hurting. ‘I was like, my forehead hurts really bad, and my neck is in so much pain.”

Shane told the outlet that he turned around to see “her head in its mouth”.

“I just heard a rush of water, and I turned around to make sure she was OK. And I just saw the gator,” he said.

Luckily, Ms Carr didn’t sustain serious injuries.

She said she is “genuinely really, really lucky” and noted that it was likely that her full-face snorkel mask had prevented the massive gator from getting a better grip on her head.

She sustained bite marks on her head as well as on her neck

"[It] sounds bad, but it biting my head is probably the best place that it could have been because, if it would have got my arm and that it would have got a better grip on my arm and I could have lost my arm or just my life in general,” she reflected on her fortunate escape.

As for the alligator, she doesn’t blame it for biting her as she was likely encroaching on its territory.

“He probably just thought I was food; he wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Ms Carr said/

Looking on the bright side, she added: “I know some people don’t get to say they got bit on the head by an alligator, and they’re still here.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed the report to Fox 35 and said that the alligator had since been moved.

“The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP). The goal of SNAP is to proactively address alligator threats in developed areas while conserving alligators in areas where they naturally occur,” the FWC said in a statement to USA TODAY.

This is the second alligator incident that the FWC has dealt with in the space of a week.

A few days earlier, on 1 November, a 79-year-old man was also out snorkelling in Alexander Springs when he “bumped” into an alligator.

While he was not bit, the man did sustain a non-life-threatening injury, according to the FWC.

The US Forest Service said in a post that the alligator was not removed from the site but that the Springs closed briefly on the day.

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