An 8 foot crocodile jumped out of a zoo van while on the highway during afternoon traffic, resulting in a crazy wrestling match in the median of Florida‘s busy A1A highway.
At approximately 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22nd, a zoo van was driving down the highway in St. Augustine to relocate a 150-pound crocodile around two minutes away to another part of the zoo when suddenly, it escaped just across the street from the park.
“This animal broke the back window of the van and made a dash down the road,” the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park posted on Facebook.
“Our crew acted quickly to recapture it, and deliver it safely to (its) new habitat,” the zoo’s post continued. “At no time was there any real danger as the animal’s mouth was secured.”
The zoo added that “this is why we have extensive training and do drills, to prepare for moments like this.”
Another driver on the road, Jessica Stark, recorded most of the incident on her cellphone as the crocodile was making its way into the landscaped median of the highway.
Stark’s video shows a tug-of-war between the crocodile and three zoo staffers clinging to a rope. Two women — general curator Gen Anderson and reptile zookeeper Karsyn McCreedy — have been credited with bringing the crocodile under control, but it took at least five people to get the 150-pound reptile back in the van.
The incident lasted only minutes, according to the zoo staffers.
“I was right behind the van when it crawled out,” Stark wrote in her post on Facebook.
“It happened so fast I thought it was a big piece of rubber (I’m blind),” she added. “Nope it was a freaking gator. … He almost made it to the other side! Those gator farm people are savage and handled it.”
Stark joked that the reptile had the courtesy of waiting until after “the school rush” so as not to make traffic any worse in the area.
Social media response to the video, which was shared by the zoo, has been a mix of awe of the fearless zookeepers, admiration for the crocodile’s will to roam free, and hilarious jokes about the direction the reptile was headed: there was a Budweiser delivery truck just across the street.
“He must really love Budweiser!” TJ Jo wrote.
“He’s wrestling two (people) to get another beer. What’s more American than that?” Dylan Boss posted.
“That must of been some scary driving for that gator to jump the heck out,” Marci Thesken said.