Florida Alligator Attacks Child at the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

A 6-year old boy was attacked by an eight-foot alligator at the edge of the Refuge Lee Road boat ramp on the L-40 canal at the A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge on Friday afternoon.

The boy, Joey Welch, had slipped and fallen into the shallow water when the alligator lunged at him, gripping his arm and chest in its jaws.

The boy's father quickly jumped into the water and began to punch the alligator, which is both terrifying and badass.

Others soon joined in by hitting and kicking the animal before it could submerge into the water with the child.

Eventually, the gator realized that eating a kid wasn't worth getting kicked in the head, and it released the boy.

Through the ordeal, Joey Welch fortunately suffered only minor cuts and bruises to his right arm, shoulder, and chest. He was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale and received antibiotics for his injuries. He was eventually released and is expected to be fine.

The boy's father, Joseph Welch, suffered bruises on his fists after repeatedly punching the alligator that was trying to eat his boy.

The gator's fate wasn't so peachy.

Reportedly, licensed trappers arrived on the scene and eventually found and killed the alligator, per public-safety measures dispatched by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"We are extremely relieved the child made it out of this potentially deadly incident with only minor injuries," said Rolf Olson, acting project leader of Loxahatchee and Hobe Sound NWR. "This really could have ended very badly. We thank the members of the public who saw this happening and selflessly rushed in to do the right thing.

"It is a stark reminder that we all have to be careful with animals like alligators," said Olsen. "They deserve a healthy respect. We encourage all our visitors to be very careful around alligators."

The FWC warns that being in, or especially at the edge of, fresh water lakes or canals in Florida is the best way for a person (or a pet) to be a possible victim of an alligator attack.

Punching alligators in the face doesn't always work. So, best to use caution when you're out and about in Florida waters and canals.

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