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Joseph Cannistra, who owns JVC Collision Pros in Tampa, Fla., says that softer hands wouldn’t have fared as well as his work-hardened hands did after a 5-foot alligator attacked him early Sunday morning.
Just after midnight Sunday, Cannistra was out in his dimly lit yard trying to round up his dog Zeus, who bolted from the house while Cannistra and a friend hauled in gifts from his girlfriend’s baby shower, TampaBay.com reported. Cannistra lives in a subdivision near a nature preserve in Land O’Lakes, Fla.
Cannistra said he was clapping his hands, trying to get Zeus’ attention, when the gator struck.
“The second time I clapped, I couldn’t take my hands apart,” he said.
Cannistra said the alligator, which he didn’t notice until it “chomped” him, stripped the skin from his right hand and injured three fingers on his left. A friend took him to a nearby hospital, where he received 34 stitches and a rabies shot to repair the damage.
By Monday morning, Cannistra was back at work in his shop, but with his heavily bandaged hands, he was relegated to answering the phones rather than repairing cars, TampaBay.com says.
“Being in this business, I got a lot of calluses,” he said. “If it was someone with dandy hands, they would have been in trouble.”
The alligator wasn’t as lucky: State wildlife officers caught the gator and told TampaBay.com that it would be killed.