TODAY | May 18, 2012
>> now to an alligator encounter caught on camera in north carolina . this video has gone viral. fred boyce worked with wil animals many times but things went pretty badly for him recently when an eight foot alligator he was trying to capture suddenly turn on him. luckily fred avoided serious injury and he's with us now. fred , good morning to you.
>> good morning.
>> well, first things first --
>> don't take this personally --
>> go ahead.
>> don't take this personally, but i may have been more comfortable inhe ditch with the alligator than i am right now.
>> fred , this is going to be a lot easier, let me tell you, because i don't bite.
>> definitely not part of the plan.
>> let's talk first about how you're doing. i know you've got a bandaged arm. u feel okay?
>> i feel fine. i mean, as far as the arm goes. as far as the arm goes. but i wasn't really, you know, the "today" show was pretty far from my mind when i was out in a remote area of eastern north carolina in a ditch.
>> but now this video we're looking at has gone viral. many people in the country have seen it, and they have a question, fred . what were you thinking throwing that towel over his head and trying to capture that big alligator ?
>> well, i obviously wasn't thinking about the digital age that weive in and handheld video cameras . i wish i'd have been thinking more about that. i was basically thinking about the situation that we had that wasn't too good. actually the alligator was in someone's front yard . there was a house very close by with small children, and it was right next to a highway that is a lot of pretty high-speed traffi passes by, especially at night.
>> so you felt like -- you feltic you had to do something.
>> it could have caused a serious accident. -- i did because i was expecting some other people to have come and responded. in fact i was told that some wildlife officials were going to be there responding to the scene.
>> well --
>> but i was really just expecting to take some pictures and see an alligator and you know, maybe lend a hand if they needed one. but otherwise stay out of the way. and when i got there, i was really surprised to hear that they weren't responding. somebody told me that they weren't going to come and it was all up to us.
>> well, fred , let's --
>> there was a woman with small kids and she was pretty concerned about this alligator being right in her front yard .
>> sure, sure. let's talk about what the plan was.
>> i would have loved to have just left it there.
>> i think people want --
>> as far as the towel goes, alligators are very closely related to birs. they're they're more closely related to birds than other reptiles. they have some bird-like qualities. if you can close their eyes or cover their eyes it calms them down. i really was not equipped, you know, i really kind of didn't feel good about doing this tell you the truth, because this was a big alligator . i have worked with a lot of alligators. i have back jumped alligators, which is what that's called where you jump on their back. you grab them behind the head and if you can work your hands up to where you can close their jaws, their jaws are actually very weak when it comes to opening them. the muscles that open the jaw are incredibly weak so you can easily hold an alligator 's jaw shut with your hands.
>> but instead he turns on you there --
>> the pressure is incredibly strong.
>> i bet it is.
>> i think i lost my footing there in the ditch. it was a little bit slippery and i kind of lost my footing before i even, you know, kind of fell down and sort of put my hands on it sooner than i admit to.
>> can we see your arm --
>> and it was a little out of my size range to be doing by myself. i was kind of hoping that somebody else might jump on the back behind me but apparently they didn't like that idea too much. and you know, i really -- i don't hold that against them at all. i really wish i'd had some experienced help there with me, and this was not a good example, i'm sorry this was caught on video, really, is not a good example of, you know, my best work.
>> that's all right, fred .
>> -- around with a video camera .
>> well you're very brave to face an alligator and to come on tv and talk about it. so, thank you so much for being with us. we really appreciate it.