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9-Foot-Long Alligator Breaks Loose From Trapper, Almost Bites Him

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

9-Foot-Long Alligator Breaks Loose From Trapper, Almost Bites Him

Posted 2024-05-17  by  Stephanie Mallory

Mark Penix didn’t realize how close he’d come to getting bitten until he watched the footage

A Florida trapper had a close call with a 9-foot-long alligator when it escaped his grips outside of an elementary school.

According to, Carolynn Jones captured the footage of trapper Mark Penix sitting on the gator and lifting its snout while several people hold restraints. Suddenly, the gator starts thrashing and manages to buck the trapper off of its back. It comes very close to biting him as it attempts to turn.

Penix has been a licensed nuisance alligator trapper since retiring from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

“I had no idea he had come that close until I watched the video in slow motion and said woah that was close,” Penix told 10 Tampa Bay.

Earlier that day, Penix was trapping a different alligator in a nearby subdivision when he stepped on a sharp Cypress Tree stump, puncturing his foot.

“Now I'm leaving out of there going to the emergency room to get my foot fixed and as I pull out the subdivision, I see police officers in the middle of the road with this big alligator. I'm like, 'You got to be kidding me.' I said, 'Well, I gotta catch him,'” Penix recalled.

So, with an injured foot, he took on the job of trapping the second gator.

“It's one of those very, very scary moments because you don't want to have an alligator going into the bus ramp with kindergarteners and first graders and second graders. So that played a part in me taking action right at that point,” he added.

He says his injury limited his ability to fully restrain the reptile.

“With the injury, I couldn't put all my weight down to control the alligator so when he started to roll, I could feel him starting to do this. And, so I wanted to get off as soon as I could. And, so when I jump back and try to kick away from it [that's when it happens],” Penix said.

Fortunately, no one was injured and they were able to capture and move the alligator.

“I critique myself and you know, if I had to again, I would let another trapper come and take care of it because I was too injured to even be on that gator's back after I looked at that video,” he added.

Penix says he plans to stay off his feet for a while to give himself time to heal, but he hopes to be back on the job again soon.

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