Here on TopTenz, we’ve already covered the misadventures of Florida Man and Florida Woman. And what would the world’s worst superhero be without a sidekick? In Florida, alligators are so common some people practically treat them like dogs. But, of course, not everyone considers them to be cuddly pets. For many, alligators are an arch-nemesis, especially since they have the ability to kill a human being. Here are 10 stories of Florida Men and Women, and their special bond with alligators.
10. Florida Man Gets Fined For Feeding Alligator
In March 2019, a 67-year-old Florida Man named Paul Fortin was caught feeding an alligator in his local pond. Apparently, he was doing this on a daily basis, and someone reported him to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. When an officer was trying to give Fortin a citation, he denied doing anything wrong, saying that the 10-foot alligator was his friend, named Hank. He said, “Hank a good boy. He lets me pet him. He just sits there, and he loves bagels.” (And really, who doesn’t?)
Fortin continued to argue with the officers, because he had no idea that feeding an alligator was illegal, and did not believe he was doing anything wrong. They arrested him for resisting the citation, and he had to spend a night in the Volusia County Jail. Later, when the news interviewed him about his friendship with Hank, he responded, “Maybe I’m Dr. Doolittle.” There has been no report on how Hank is coping without his morning bagels.
9. Alligator Destroys Florida Woman’s Home
You know that feeling you get after seeing a horror movie, and you’re suddenly worried that maybe there’s an intruder in your home lurking in the darkness? Well, most of the time when we feel that way, you just need to go to bed and feel better in the morning.
But for one 77-year-old Florida Woman named Mary Wischhusen, she wouldn’t have expected to find an 11-foot alligator at 3:30 a.m. The animal had broken through the glass and began smashing things in her house, including her extensive wine collection. Even so, Mary seems to have been mesmerized by the creature, saying, “I had this beautiful face staring at me as though he belonged there.”
Mary eventually broke away from the gator’s spellbinding eyes, and locked herself in the bedroom. But she was not the first person to call 9-1-1. The newspaper delivery person, Patricia Pecora, already called when she spotted the gator breaking into the house, so thankfully Mary didn’t have to wait long before help arrived, and the alligator was transported to a private alligator farm. Later, the community helped Mary by volunteering to fix her windows, and buy her new bottles of wine.
8. Florida Man Throws an Alligator Through the Drive-Thru Window
This next story proves that there are some people who seriously need to re-evaluate their sense of humor. A 24-year-old Florida Man named Joshua James decided to throw an alligator through the drive-thru window of a Wendy’s in Palm Beach County, Florida. He later said that he found the gator on the side of the road, and thought it might be a funny prank to play on the fast food employees at 1:20 a.m. So, after receiving his food and drink, he grabbed the three and a half foot alligator and tossed it through the window before speeding off.
Well, the joke was on Joshua, because everything was captured on security cameras, including his license plate. He was charged with “assault with a deadly weapon,” since alligators are, in fact, able to kill or seriously injure people (surprise!). This is a third-degree felony, and may spend up to five years in prison. James also has to go through a court-ordered psychological evaluation. Perhaps the most harsh punishment of all is that the Wendy’s corporation has banned him from their restaurants for life.
7. Alligator Reveals the Gender of Florida Man’s 10th Child
Once Florida Man and Woman have been brought together in holy matrimony, it only makes sense that they will have a child, or two… or 10. (God help us all.) No matter how many kids you have, that doesn’t make it any less special to bring new life into the world, and many couples decide to celebrate this blessed occasion with a gender reveal party.
In Pasco County, Florida, Stacie and Chad Childs-Wright keep a pet alligator in the home named Amos. The couple wiggled a balloon in front of the gator, and he was annoyed enough to bite it, revealing an explosion of pink powder. They’re having a girl! After this video went viral, Fox News did a follow-up story, asking the Childs-Wright family why in the world they have a pet alligator lurking around their children in the first place. Turns out there actually is a perfectly rational explanation. The husband, Chad, works as a gator trapping expert with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and he has been traveling with Amos since 2005 to teach various officers in Florida how to properly trap an alligator.
6. 80-Year-Old Florida Man Wrestles a Gator in His Backyard
There is nothing more American than stepping up to bravely take a problem into your own hands, even if it defies all logic. For one 80-year-old Florida Man from Miami-Dade named Ed Chapman, he had experienced far too much in life to be afraid of a silly little alligator.
When Chapman found a 6-foot long alligator harassing his dog in his backyard, he didn’t bother to call animal control. Instead, he wrestled the alligator and duct taped its mouth shut all by himself. Later, he called the police, and gave them a detailed description of their wrestling match: “He swatted me with his tail and knocked my legs out from under me … That thing tugged me all over,” he said. “Carried me, twisting and fighting me all the way across the property. We argued together until we got all the way over to this pond.”
The reporter asked him to elaborate on the fact that he claims to have “argued” with said alligator. Chapman simply responded, “Yeah, we argued. Yeah, he wasn’t happy.”
5. Florida Man Comes Face-to-Face with Alligator After A Long Day at Work
Sometimes, when you come home from a long day at work, all you want to do is relax, right? Have your dinner, maybe sit down with a glass of wine and Netflix. The only thing that could possibly ruin your moment of zen is getting a bad letter in the mail or an argument with a loved one. Or… coming face-to-face with your arch-nemesis: the Alligator.
Michael Prestridge is an employee of an Amazon Fulfillment Center, and he came home from a 10-hour long shift. Exhausted him a very full day at work, the last thing he needed was a 6-foot long alligator taking a nap in front of his front door. Instead of calling the police or animal control, Michael first called his brother, Rick, and snapped photos to post on Facebook. After boasting about his discovery on social media, he finally got around to calling a trapper to retrieve the gator so that he could go inside to relax.
4. Florida Man Fights an Alligator to Save A Dog
This next story proves that sometimes, Florida Man truly can be a hero. On July 10, 2019, a 75-year-old man named Buddy Ackerman from Palm Harbor, Florida was walking in his backyard with his golden retriever, Osi. The dog got close to the edge of the pond, when an alligator emerged to clench his jaws around the unsuspecting canine (while he was dropping a deuce, no less). Ackerman was so shocked and afraid he started running toward the dog, and slipped and fell backward.
Before the gator could drag Osi to a watery grave, Buddy managed to get back on his feet, and grab onto the dog. They pulled the golden retriever in a horrific tug-of-war, until Ackerman finally kicked the gator in the nose. This was enough for him to unclench his jaws and release the poor pup. When interviewed by the local news, Ackerman said he was just glad that Osi is a rather large dog, stating, “I dunno what would happen with people running around with a little Pekingese, or something. I guess we’d say goodbye.”
3. Florida Man Catches 1,000-Pound Alligator
Every single year, Lake Okeechobee, Florida has an annual “alligator hunt” during the month of August. This is a rare opportunity where the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission gives their blessing to hunters have free reign to rid the waters of the deadly reptiles, in order to keep the population under control. Back in 1967, alligators made their way onto the endangered species list because so many Florida residents were shooting them on a daily basis. The Wildlife Commission set out to conserve the creatures, and made it illegal to kill them without a permit. But the population exploded to over 1.3 million alligators in the state of Florida, which is why they have allowed these controlled hunting seasons.
One man named Jim Howard showed up with his boat to participate, and just 30 minutes into his fishing trip, he captured an alligator that was 12-feet long and over 1,000 pounds. As you can imagine, it wasn’t an easy fight to get the beast onto the boat. For over an hour, Howard had to wrestle with the alligator, and it was so large and strong that it pulled his boat through the water. Now, the real question is: will Howard get this alligator turned into taxidermy? If so, it just might get its own room in the house.
2. Pregnant Florida Woman Uses Bottle To Feed A Baby Alligator
After you’ve done the gender reveal party, another trend with expecting mothers is to do a pregnancy photoshoot. So, when in Florida, you may as well do Florida things. Lindsey and Jonathan Tuttle were so proud of being Florida residents that once they got married and were expecting their first child they decided to have a maternity photoshoot that was Florida themed. It was complete with the state flag, a case of beer, a shotgun, and a baby alligator. Because of course. Lindsey cradled the baby gator in her arms, and nursed it with a bottle.
Thankfully, this was all done ironically, and there was a gator wrangler somewhere off-camera ready to take the baby reptile safely out of her arms. During an interview, Tuttle said that she wanted to do a Florida Man and Florida Woman-themed photoshoot, because as a resident of the state, she was a fan of all of the crazy news headlines (hey, us too!). She had hoped it would go viral. Tuttle said, “I knew it would have elicited a reaction, just because it’s so over-the-top and ridiculous,”
1. Florida Man is Eaten by an Alligator
We all knew it would come to this. With all of these stories of people casually cuddling and wrestling with alligators, it eventually had to end badly. In Fort Meade, Florida, a corporation called the Mosaic Company has a canal running through their property. One day, employees spotted a nearly 12-foot long, 449-pound alligator carrying the body of a man. The authorities were called, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission were forced to shoot the gator. Part of the man’s remains were discovered inside of the alligator’s stomach, and the rest of his body had to be recovered after it floated down-river.
The coroner was eventually able to identify the victim as 45-year-old Michael Ford II, and they listed his official cause of death as “drowning.” No one is sure why the man was on company property, since he was not an employee. The exact circumstances surrounding his death will likely remain and unsolved mystery.