Gator wrestler back in the pit after arm was nearly torn off

By Jeff Weinsier, Reporter,
Published On: Jan 29 2014 11:15:00 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 30 2014 05:36:35 PM EST

Seven months after his arm was nearly torn off by a 1,000-pound alligator, 23-year-old Will Nace is back in the alligator pit.


Seven months after his arm was nearly torn off by a 1,000 pound alligator, 23-year-old Will Nace is back in the alligator pit at Native Village.

The alligator wrestler has had 11 surgeries since the July 2013 incident. He has two metal plates and 20 screws in his arm and wrist.

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Will Nace in hospital

Nace says, "Lunge," the gator who bit him, is still his favorite.

"It wasn't his fault. I looked away from him for a second. He jumped and grabbed my arm," said Nace.

While many people would walk away from the danger after an incident like his, Nace won't.

Nace is back giving tours, teaching kids about the animals and mentoring.

Native Village is an alligator park and wildlife sanctuary at 3553 North State Road 7 in Hollywood.

"I love it. I love the animals. I love the learning experience. I get to learn every day," he added.

"Teaching kids about animals is a passion.  I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world," Nace said.

His medical bills have reached $400,000, and Nace still needs more surgery.

"Later on down the road, I'm going to need to get my two tendons fixed for two fingers because they are so tight because of the scar tissue," he said.Will Nace

Nace volunteers his time at Native Village. He has no insurance and no family.

He says those who work and volunteer at Native Village have become his family.

Those friends have now started a fundraiser.

One Hollywood family even provided a credit card for one of Nace's surgeries.

"He's a great guy. He educates my son Jordan. He educates all the people that come for the tours. He's a really wonderful guy. I feel for him," said Randi Meschel.

So far, $900 has been raised.

"I appreciate all he's done and I feel bad  that he's been in pain and he has nothing to fall back on," said Native Village volunteer Melodie Rasumoff.

If you would like to donate, visit


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