Utah trainer in good spirits after being dragged into alligator enclosure

Aug 16, 2021, 7:57 PM

WEST VALLEY, Utah — Utah reptile trainer, Lindsay Bull, is in good spirits after a close call with an alligator at the West Valley City reptile zoo, Scales and Tales. Video footage captured by Theresa Wiseman shows the moment Bull is dragged by an alligator into the enclosure by her arm. 

Alligator attacks Utah trainer 

We’ve seen close calls with moose and mountain lion encounters in Utah, but an alligator? 

Bull told KSL NewsRadio she was giving a birthday party tour of the alligators when the attack took place. Bull stopped at Darth Gator’s, an 8-foot-long American Alligator, enclosure to show the kids how the alligator is fed. 

She said the alligator was acting more aggressive than usual and was coming too close to the platform when being fed. Bull attempted to command him back into the enclosure, but he did not listen. 

The alligator then bit down on Bull’s arm and started to drag her into the enclosure. 

“He kind of bit it, and initially I was like, ‘Oh I just got bit.” Bull explained to KSL NewsRadio. “But then he like really bit down and I realized that there was going to be danger involved.”

Bull said to avoid losing her arm, she had to enter the enclosure. At this point, the alligator was thrashing and pulling Bull back into the enclosure. 

Bull described these actions of the alligator to be indicating that it was getting ready to do a “death roll”. The “death roll”, Bull said, is where the alligator will tear a piece off of its food by rolling aggressively. 

Luckily, Bull’s training kicked in. She rolled with the alligator twice to avoid losing her arm.

“If he really wanted to rip my arm off it would be gone,” according to Bull. She was able to wrap her legs around the alligator when he paused in the midst of the attack. 

“I got into that position and I was just kind of staring at amazement at his face. I don’t know — his mouth is there and my arm is in it, and I just go, please please don’t roll again. That’s the only thing I could think,” Bull said. 

At that point, an attendee of the tour, Donnie Wiseman, jumped on the gator’s back to save Bull. An act that Bull herself has only done once in training. 

“I just cannot even explain how grateful I am,” she said.

After the attack, another attendee’s wife stepped in and started to perform first aid. 

“At that point, Todd’s wife stepped in and started doing first aid. And she was really amazing, just took control over the whole situation and made me feel really comfortable,” Bull explained. 

Bull said she thinks she’ll be forever friends with Donnie and Todd.  

Bull did sustain injuries and had to have surgery on her hand but is expected to make a full recovery. 

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Utah trainer in good spirits after being dragged into alligator enclosure