A photographer in the Florida Everglades managed to capture the inside of an alligator's mouth after it tried to eat his GoPro. Luckily for both parties, the gator didn’t like the taste of the GoPro and let it go with little damage.
Photographer Bobby Wummer was shooting in Ochopee in Florida, USA, when the curious alligator decided to inspect one of the best action cameras (opens in new tab) a little closer. The GoPro was attached to a 12-foot extension pole, suspended just above the water close to where the alligator was lurking when it launched it for it. Lucky, Wummer was far enough away from the alligator to not get attacked although people on Facebook have accused him of putting himself in danger.
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The video was originally posted on Bobby Wummer’s photography page (opens in new tab) but was later picked up by the WPLG Local 10 News (opens in new tab) station. "As you can see, i did get an EXTREME close up insure [sic] the gators mouth," Wummer wrote on Facebook. "This was not done intentionally, I didn’t think he would actually lunge up and bite down on the cam. I was lucky and didn’t play tug of war which would have probably been the end of the camera."
Realizing the GoPro was not in fact food, the alligator let the device go and Wummer not only was able to retrieve the footage but the damage was so minimal he is still able to use the camera – although he should definitely think twice about using it so close to alligators again.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding how close we get to wild animals for our own pleasure. While the latest camera technology can make it much easier to capture incredible shots of wildlife, sometimes it doesn’t always end up great for the animal.
Just last year, a video of a woman flying a drone above an alligator went viral on TikTok (opens in new tab) after it lunged up and snatched the device out of the air. In the video, you can hear people in the recording refer to the animal as George before smoke starts billowing from its mouth after the device explodes.
In Sri Lanka, environmentalists have also warned photographers against using drones (opens in new tab) to capture the flamingo’s that flock there every year since they cause them undue distress. The magical sight attracts hundreds of tourists which helps boosts the economy but the minority that use drones have the potential to scare off the birds and stop them from returning which would be detrimental to the local economy.
Wummer was lucky that neither he nor the alligator was injured but it goes to show how quickly a situation can escalate. Most wildlife photographers are very careful and considerate of the wildlife they are shooting but there are some that put the perfect shot above the animal's safety. While Wummer did seem incredibly pleased the alligator was not injured, let's hope that next time he uses a long lens from a distance to get the shot instead.
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