Richard Wilbanks was walking his three-month-old puppy, Gunner, around a pond near his house when he suddenly found himself pulling his little dog from the literal jaws of death.

One moment, everything was calm, and the 74-year-old Florida man and his pup were enjoying a nice stroll. The next, a small alligator — relatively common in the state — leaped from the water and snatched the puppy, dragging him into the water. From there, according to Richard, adrenaline kicked in. He pulled the gator and puppy out of the water and pried the reptile’s jaws open with his bare hands until Gunner could escape, limping away from danger. The coolest part? Wilbanks didn’t even drop the cigar in his mouth the whole time.

The terrifying incident was captured on a wildlife camera and shared by the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fSTOP Foundation, which has partnered with local residents to put cameras around areas frequented by native animals. The project, called Sharing The Landscape, aims to show people the cool flora and fauna living near them, and well… it looks like Richard and Gunner know what lives around them now.

Take a look at the shocking moment below:


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