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Alligator chomps wrestler at New Port Richey festival

Jeff Quattrocchi wrestles an alligator at a show in Springfield, Ill. He was bitten Sunday and was in stable condition at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

Associated Press (2007)

Jeff Quattrocchi wrestles an alligator at a show in Springfield, Ill. He was bitten Sunday and was in stable condition at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

NEW PORT RICHEY — An alligator wrestler was bitten by an 8-foot-long alligator and severely injured while performing Sunday at the Cotee River Seafood Festival, authorities said.

Jeff Quattrocchi, 45, an alligator handler from Kissimmee, was in the midst of a performance at 1 p.m. when the reptile chomped onto his right arm.

He was transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg by helicopter and later reported to be in stable condition.

New Port Richey police Lt. Steve Kostas said Quattrocchi's injuries are not life-threatening, but he is expected to undergo surgery.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers captured the alligator, and are determining whether to kill it or return it to Quattrocchi, who handles reptiles for a living.

Quattrocchi, who styles himself as the "Swampmaster" on his myspace.com page, acknowledged in his posts the risks, but seems to relish the thrill.

"Considering events in my life over the past several years, I'm lucky to be alive! I work with 8 foot, 200 (plus) lb. grumpy alligators who would love to take a chunk out of me at any time," he wrote. "I bow to no man or beast, but respect all who rock before me."

Alligator chomps wrestler at New Port Richey festival 05/09/10 [Last modified: Sunday, May 9, 2010 9:25pm]
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