(SAINT CLOUD, Fla.) — A Florida 9-year old knew just what to do when he had a too-close-for comfort encounter with a nine-foot, 400-pound alligator.
“I just immediately hit it and I let it go a little so I pry its jaw open,” James Barney Jr. told ABC News.
Sitting in his hospital bed with only minor cuts, Barney said some quick thinking saved his life when he was attacked by an alligator Thursday in Saint Cloud, Fla.
“First I thought someone was just playing with me and I didn’t know what happened. I reached down to go grab it and I felt its jaw, I felt its teeth,” Barney said.
Barney escaped with only minor alligator bites and a memorable souvenir, the animal’s tooth.
“I want to put it on a necklace so that I can tell all my friends,” he said.
Trappers are still searching for the reptile.
In the meantime, Barney has one piece of advice for swimmers.
“Don’t go into the lake,” he said.
The boy is expected to make a full recovery.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Chris Williams and Jason Hanna, CNN
Madison Park, CNN
Kathryn Vasel, CNN
Sara Ashley O'Brien, CNN