On June 12, Florida airboat captain Wallace Weatherholt, 63, was giving an Indiana family a tour of the Everglades when an alligator bit off his hand. Now, in the quintessential case of adding insult to injury, Weatherholt has been charged with feeding the alligator that ate his right hand.
According to officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Indiana family told investigators that Weatherholt had danged a fish over the side of the boat to attract an alligator. “It’s a very sad situation for Mr. Weatherholt, and we wish this never happened to him, but there are laws on the books to protect people from this exact incident,” FWC officer Jorge Pino told ABC News.
After losing his hand, Weatherholt reportedly drove the boat back with his left hand and was hospitalized once ashore. The alligator was caught and euthanized shortly after the incident. He was arrested Friday and released after posting $1,000 bail. Due back in court on August 22, Weatherholt faces a fine of $500 and possible jail time for the second degree misdemeanor charge. According to Pino, the laws against feeding alligators are there to protect the animals as well as humans. An alligator who is used to being fed and becomes unafraid of people becomes a danger to humans and is more likely to be killed.