Hancock County

Hancock County man escapes serious injury when gator attacks

It was a situation that could have turned deadly when an alligator attack in Hancock County on Sunday sent a man to the hospital.

The attack was caught on video when Hancock County authorities and an alligator wrangler were trying to relocate the reptile off Mississippi 603. Sheriff’s deputies had to block off part of the roadway near Bayou Lacroix while the wrangler tried to trap the reptile. A local expert said the encounter could have been fatal if the wrangler had not escaped the gator’s mouth.

“They got 220-per-square-inch of biting power. So generally if they get a good bite, they’re going to crush bone and all. They could actually tear your arm clean off,” said Allan Adams, owner of Gulf Coast Gator Ranch in Moss Point.

Adams said the bayou must have flooded during the recent storms, allowing the gator to crawl out of the marsh. Hancock County Sheriff’s Department officials said the alligator was about 10 feet long and weighed several hundred pound, just above average for a typical wild alligator.

“When we have all this rain and all this water, it displaces the alligators so they’re able to get to places they haven’t gotten before,” Adams said.

The good news, Adams said, is that alligator attacks like the one this week are rare in South Mississippi.

“You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than getting bit by an alligator,” he said. “You really have to put yourself in a bad situation to get bitten by an alligator.”

The man bitten did not suffer any life-threatening injuries, authorities said. He was bitten in the chest, said Chief Deputy Don Bass.

But Adams warns that there are some scenarios that increase the risk of an alligator attack.

“If you happen to be in their territory, around a female’s nest ... and you’re not aware of it, a female will attack to protect her nest,” Adams said. “And that’s one time she can be pretty vicious.”

Sun Herald Interactive Editor Kate Magandy contributed to this report.