A zoo handler who was about to feed an alligator at a Utah petting zoo is probably glad she was surrounded by exactly the guests who were there at the time. The gator lunged at her, chomping down on her arm and thrashing her around, and zoo guests quickly rushed in to help, ABC 4 reports. One guest tried to grab the handler, then got in the enclosure at West Valley City's Scales and Tales after she told him to try getting on the gator's back and holding him down. Eventually she was able to get her arm out of the animal's mouth and another guest pulled her to safety; a third guest, who has a nursing background, then started first aid.
The man holding the gator down was then able to jump off him and get out of the enclosure before the gator could turn around to attack, with the handler talking him through what to do, TMZ reports. "These gentleman could have stayed in the safety zone as most of us would, but instead jumped into the situation, of their own volition, and helped secure the alligator," the zoo says in a Facebook post. "Their help, combined with the training of our staff member, probably saved her life and her limbs." The handler is recovering and doing well after undergoing surgery, it says. The zoo tells ABC News she was feeding the gator at the time, a routine duty, when the animal "got a little extra spunky." (Read more Utah stories.)