A 10-year-old girl in Florida managed to avoid becoming a statistic—and a meal—when she was attacked by an alligator around twice her size. Authorities say the girl was sitting in shallow water about 10 feet from shore in the Orlando-area Lake Mary Jane on Saturday afternoon when the 8-foot, 9-inch gator bit her on the knee and calf, ABC News reports. The girl, whose relatives were around 30 feet from shore, was able to pry the animal's jaws open and free herself, authorities say. She was taken to a local hospital and released after being treated for several puncture wounds. A trapper caught and killed the alligator.
The girl's father says that in a move learned in a trip to the Gatorland theme park, she poked the alligator in the nostril. "To get an animal with the strongest bite on the planet to let go of you is a miracle," Gatorland spokesman Donald Aldarelli tells WFTV. "I'm just happy that she heard it here." Officials say Moss Park, which borders this lake, will be closed this week out of an "abundance of caution," reports the Orlando Sentinel, which notes that out of 388 documented alligator attacks in Florida since 1948, there have been 24 deaths. (This Florida golfer defended himself with a putter after a gator dragged him into a water hazard.)