The latest alligator-related viral video doesn't star a giant critter, but a 74-year-old man whose whose heroic actions saved his puppy's life.
Richard Wilbanks, an avid hunter, immediately jumped in the water when he heard his three-month-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel crying in his backyard in Estero, Florida. With a cigar in his mouth, he quickly located the gator, yanked it from the pond shore's floor, and painstakingly groaned as he pried its jaws open to release his pup, Gunner.
“It was just a shock, it happened so fast,” Wilbanks told NBC. “Instinct just took over and adrenaline kicked in and I just went right into the water after the gator and Gunner."
Wilbanks participates in a collaborative program between the Florida Wildlife Federation and fSTOP Foundation that surveils residential land set on wild habitats. The footage was captured as part of the organizations' Sharing the Landscape project, which encourages the public to respect wildlife and the habitats that animals and humans share, per the Independent. The gator has been removed from Wilbanks' backyard, and the puppy is reportedly OK. Not all "Florida man" stories end badly.