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July 30, 2012

Man who lost his hand to alligator charged

EVERGLADES CITY, Fla. (UPI) -- A Florida airboat captain who lost his hand to an alligator last month was arrested and charged with the unlawful feeding of an alligator, police said.

Wallace Weatherholt, 63, was arrested Friday for the incident last month, the Fort Myers (Fla.) News Press reported.

On June 12, Weatherholt encountered an alligator in the Everglades, which bit his hand off at the wrist.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers investigated the attack to determine whether the captain had fed or otherwise provoked the alligator before the attack.

FWC spokeswoman Carli Segelson said that there had been some allegations of that happening.

Feeding the alligators in Florida is illegal, and can carry a fine of up to $500 and possible jail time.

"Alligators have a natural fear of humans," said David Weathers, a nuisance-alligator trapper and owner of several alligators. "If they see us, they take off. They see us as these giants hovering over them. They're not going to attack unless they've been fed."

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