When you decide to walk in the door of any place with a live alligator show, there’s a small, sadistic part of you that hopes something goes wrong.
Of course you don’t want to see anybody hurt, but it’s same reason we like the crashes in NASCAR, the same reason we pay money to see a guy stick his head in a lion’s mouth at the circus, and it’s the same reason people jump out of perfectly good planes with nothing more than a parachute.
Will the chute open, will it not open… there’s an exhilarating rush you can only get when your life is on the line.
Not exactly the same stakes here, but at Scales and Tails in West Valley City, Utah, to say the show went off the rails would be the understatement of the year.
According to TMZ, a gator handler at Scales and Tails was attempting to feed a gator? Show off the gator? I don’t really know what she was trying to do, but when she opened that cage door and told him to “get back” with a hand to the face, he did exactly what you’d expect a large alligator to do… bite her damn hand.
The gator clamps down hard on her hand and starts doing “death rolls” which basically means it’s all over for that poor handler’s arm. Death rolls are a maneuver gators use to rip off a limb or whatever they have in their jaws. Think of it as the gator’s finishing move.
Thankfully, the woman is able to roll with the gator (and it’s not that big) right before a random spectator named Donnie Wiseman, who appears to be visiting the zoo with his wife and kids, does the unthinkable.
In an effort to stop the gator from rolling, he JUMPS ON THE GATOR’S back.
Let’s roll the tape:
Eventually the gator lets go, but poor, heroic, extremely untrained in the sport of alligator wresting, Donnie is stuck in the tank on the pissed off gator’s back.
Let’s just pause for a moment… can you imagine?
Instincts take over, you jump on a hungry gator’s back, and you’re technically a hero, but suddenly you’re all alone in the tank riding a gator, about to get your own hand bit off in front of your young children. I mean, talk about a “how the hell did I wind up here?” kind of moment.
A lesser man would’ve stood there and watched… and also not wound up in this extremely precarious position.
So Donnie’s sitting on the gator’s back, gator is thrashing about, the handler has a mangled hand, your kids are screaming behind the glass and some dickhead in a green shirt is saying “hold his mouth shut.”
And where the hell is the rest of the staff when this happens? Hell, even Joe Exotic’s redneck tiger zoo had a better response than this place. Although, I gotta hand it to the handler here (no pun intended), even with her hand in the gator’s mouth she was cool as a cucumber. Ice water in her veins.
I’d like to think Donnie at least got a refund for his heroic actions… perhaps a lifetime supply of visits to Scales and Tails on the house? They really should turn that damn gator into a pair of boots and give ’em to Donnie… make this whole thing worth it.
Either way, if you see Donnie in the streets, get that man a beer. He deserves the hell outta one.