The 10-year-old girl who fought off an alligator with her bare hands says that despite being scared at first, she summoned up the courage to fend off the 9-foot-long beast.
Juliana Ossa was swimming in Moss Park in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday when the alligator bit her. She apparently pried the gator’s mouth open, freeing her leg.
“I tried hitting it on its forehead to let me go. That didn’t work, so I thought of a plan they taught in Gatorland. The guy was wrestling the alligator with its mouth taped, and in this situation it was the other way around,” Juliana said in an interview on NBC’s TODAY.
“So I stuck my two fingers up its nose so it couldn’t breathe — it had to be from its mouth — and he opened it, so it let my leg out.”
Juliana was pulled to shore by her uncle and rushed to a hospital. She was treated at Nemours Children’s Hospital for lacerations and puncture wounds in the back of her left knee and lower thigh, reports NBC.
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“I was scared at first, but I knew what to do,” she told told WESH on Monday.
Orlando Sentinel reports that the alligator was trapped after the incident, and that the park’s waterfront section will remain closed throughout this week for “an abundance of caution,” according to manager of Orange County Parks and Recreation Matt Suedmeyer.