There's nothing quite like a day of fishing to relax the mind – but this Louisiana angler got a bit more than he bargained for when he reached out to investigate a foam "noodle" bobbing near his kayak.
Baton Rouge local Lance Burgos was heading in from a day on the water with his daughter, Evan, when the pair noticed the pool noodle. The flotation device had been rigged as a catfish trap, and curiosity won the day. A brief tug was met with a lot of resistance, but Burgos never expected to find an alligator on the other end! "I thought it was a big garfish," he says.
The reptile's head alone was reportedly an impressive three feet (one metre) long. "My daughter and I got back from camp, and when we went to bed, we both said, 'We're going to have nightmares about this,'" Burgos told Nola.
Luckily, no one was hurt during the encounter, and Burgos certainly did the right thing by dropping the line and paddling away. Of course, during most interactions with large aquatic predators, screaming is not an ideal response – though we certainly understand Burgos's alarm!
Some commenters have criticised Burgos's decision to leave the reptile stuck on the line, but local wildlife officials say he made the right call. Alligators should be handled only by trained professionals – and these animals have impressively robust digestive systems.
"I spoke with one of the biologists and agents at the state park," Burgos added. "This type of thing happens all the time. The hooks and line disintegrate in the stomach acid of the animals, and [they] go about their business … I was assured that the gators that eat bait on [these] lines don't die or suffer any harmful short or long-term effects."
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