‘BONES POKING OUT:’ Florida Man Survives 3 Days In Swamp After Gator Eats Arm

Videos by OutKick

Florida Man strikes again!

Eric Merda, 43, revealed earlier this week that he survived three days in the wilderness last month despite having his arm gnawed off by a giant alligator.

We’re just built different down here, folks.

Our hero’s story begins last month with a trip to Lake Manatee Fish Camp in Sarasota, Florida.

Merda somehow got lost in the woods during the trip and when he found his way back to the lake, he decided to swim across the dang thing instead of walking around.

As someone who lives in this great, big, beautifully run state … that’s an absolutely WILD move to make.

We have lakes and ponds and canals on every street corner, and never in my 30 years of living here have I ever thought to dip my toe in one, much less swim across it.

Eric Merda lost an arm but still survived a gator attack in Florida. (Photo: WTSP)

You see all kinds of animals in Florida, in the weirdest places.

Gators roaming a miniature golf course. Bears in someone’s backyards. We have giant lizards here that literally freeze in January and fall from trees and I can’t remember the last time I walked to my car and didn’t see a snake in the yard.

Bottom line, we as Floridians should stay in our lane and leave animals alone.

But not our guy Eric!

“Not the smartest decision a Florida boy could make,” he told 10 Tampa Bay news this week.

Lake Manatee State Park. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Gator snaps Florida Man’s arm in half

Soon after Merda began his trek across the pond, he looked over and “there’s a gator on my right-hand side.”

“She got my forearm so I grabbed her like this, she was trying to roll by (and) she snapped her head so my arm went backwards like this completely,” he said.

Nightmare scenario.

Looking over and seeing a gator is bad enough, but then to have it snap its head so violently that it breaks your arm like a toothpick? No thanks.

Don’t worry, it gets better (worse).

After getting his arm shattered, the gator then dragged Eric here underwater three times before going into the classic death roll and completely snapping half of his arm off.

Yep. Off. Gone. Removed from the body, Mr. Potato Head style.

“Bones poking out, muscles, if I try to move my fingers, you could see it twitching,” Merda said.

Please stop messing with gators in Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Merda: ‘A gator got me arm’

Merda somehow escaped, swam to shore with half an arm, and wandered through the forest for three more days. He finally came to a fence and was found by someone who claimed he looked so bad that he “couldn’t tell if he was dead or alive.”

“I said a gator got me arm,” Merda recalled. “He said, ‘holy smokes man!'”

“A gator got me arm” is an all-time line, by the way. It’s the most Florida Man thing to say in this situation, so kudos to Eric for nailing the stereotype.

Merda was eventually flown to the hospital, where the rest of his arm was amputated.

According to his Facebook earlier this week, Merda is loving life six weeks after the episode and told the local news that he’s “thriving.”

He also passed on some sound advice for any of you adrenaline junkies reading this.

“Do not feed the gators,” he said. “You guys know who you are, throwing rocks at them, I’ve seen it on the job sites, leaving them gators alone.”







Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.

Leave a Reply