- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 10, 2014

A 9-year-old Florida boy was able to escape the jaws of a nine-foot, 400-pound alligator Thursday, causing authorities to go on a lakewide hunt for the reptile.

James Barney Jr. said he was swimming in East Lake Tohopekaliga in St. Cloud. when he suddenly felt a sharp pain on his backside, ABC News reported.

“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,” he said. “I just immediately hit it, and I let it go a little so I [could] pry its jaw open.”

James suffered three superficial bites, mostly on his buttocks, and there were about 30 teeth marks and claw scratches on his back, stomach and legs, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He is expected to make a full recovery.

James also escaped with one of the alligator’s teeth — a souvenir that is sure to win him some bragging rights.

“I want to put it on a necklace so that I can tell all my friends,” he said.

Trappers with Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are still searching for the animal, ABC News reported.

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