Capt. Wallace "Wally" Weatherholt, 63, an employee at Capt. Doug's Everglades Tours, was giving an Indiana family a tour of the Everglades on his airboat about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday when a 9-foot alligator opened its jaws and latched onto his left hand, ripping it off, according to an incident report.
Wildlife officials tracked down the gator, euthanized it and took the hand from its stomach to the hospital, said Jorge Pino, an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Pino said a criminal investigation is ongoing while the agency investigates claims that Weatherholt was feeding the alligator, which is a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida.
Provoking more aggressive behavior from gators may draw more customers and tips, Pino told ABC Action News, "But again, you know, at what cost?"