5-year-old recovering after being bitten by alligator in Leon County

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By: Alicia Turner | WCTV Eyewitness News
June 3, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – On Monday, 5-year-old Ryanne Gwaltney dressed in her favorite princess crown, accompanied with a magic wand. Her smile made it hard to believe she was bitten by an alligator just days ago.

"It was so shocking that it came around behind us the way that it did," said Clifford Gregg, Ryanne's granddad.

The two took a trip to Lost Lake in Leon County to kick off summer break. Gregg explained that shortly before seeing the alligator, the two had just gotten out of the water to get a snack. They waited about half an hour after seeing the reptile before getting back in.

"I waded out a little bit further, looking around, keeping my eyes open for the alligator. I had stepped 10 or 15 feet away from her when she screamed," Gregg said.

Gregg immediately jumped into action.

"He came in between us and I pounded the water with my hands over where he was at. He was out of the way and then I scooped her up," Gregg explained.

Gregg believes the float Ryanne was wearing helped saved her life. Many alligator attacks result in missing limbs or even death. For Ryanne, it was 11 stitches.

"Generally, the rule is if you don't mess with them, they don't mess with you,” Gregg added.

The physical injuries may be considered minor, but the emotional ones remain.

Gregg said, "Since it happened, I’ve been replaying all the scenes in my head and how else it may have gone.”

Despite the questions of what if, Gregg said what he does know: "If we're in any body of water and we see any gator anywhere in the body of water, we don't go in the water.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was able to trap the gator the same day the incident happened. It was 6’8" long.

FWC suggests keeping a safe distance if you see an alligator, never feed an alligator, swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours because alligators are most active between dusk and dawn and keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge, as pets can resemble alligators’ natural prey. People with concerns about an alligator should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
June 3, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A five-year-old Tallahassee girl is recovering after being attacked by an alligator over the weekend.

The attack happened Saturday afternoon at the Lost Lake Recreation Area in Leon County as five-year-old Ryanne Gwaltney was swimming.

The girl’s grandfather, Clifford Gregg, was with her when it happened.

He said the two had gone for an afternoon swim to cool off. Gregg said the two got out of the water to get a snack, and that's when they noticed the gator.

Gregg says they didn't see the alligator after that and they decided about 20 minutes later to get back in the water. That’s when the alligator attacked the child from behind, biting her leg.

Gregg said he heard the panic in the child’s screams and realized what was happening. Ryanne was wearing a floatie at the time and Gregg thinks that may have helped to save her life.

The wound to Ryanne’s leg required 11 stitches. She’s back home and recovering now.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating the incident. A spokesman says a contracted nuisance alligator trapper successfully removed the alligator, which measured 6'8".

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