A 25-year-old Florida man is recovering from an alligator attack while searching for old shark teeth in a river last weekend.
Tampa resident Jeffrey Heim was searching for shark teeth in the megalodon on the Myakka River and was in the water for a few minutes when he was so badly beaten that he thought it was a boat, he told News.
"I thought it was a plane, it hit me hard," Heim said. "I realized I was in the mouth and if the alligator hadn't decided to let me go alone, there was nothing I could do to fight it."
She thinks the alligator who attacked her was 30 feet tall and possibly a woman, probably looking to protect her eggs.
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Last month, wildlife experts in Florida warned people to be extra careful in the next few months as the alligator mating season begins in May and continues into the summer.
After the attack, Heim was left with 34 stitches on his head, a fractured skull and a bite mark on one of his hands, and due to swelling in his head, he is still unable to open his left eye. Doctors have told Heim he has no brain damage from the attack and is expected to fully recover.
Both his doctors and Heim have admitted that his ability to survive the attack while alive and without serious injuries is extraordinary.
“If it had taken me somewhere, it would have been a different story. The opportunity for me to get away from there is why it is a miracle, ”said Heim.
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Wildlife authorities are urging people in areas where alligators are accustomed to being more cautious and more careful when spending time circulating fresh water or chemicals, according to WFLA-affiliated NF Tampa. Wildlife officials say that people should only swim during the day and at enclosed swimming pools and that children should be closely monitored.
Heim collects shark teeth as a hobby and has turned his shark relationship into a business called SHRKco. Although he vows he will not return to the river where the attack took place, Heim says he will return to dental implants as soon as he is able to do so again.
"After this, I have a new respect for wildlife in their area. I don't blame the gator, and I hope that if they can find it, let it live and not kill it," Heim said.