By Tui Benjamin
A daredevil dressed as Deadpool caught and wrestled an 8ft alligator in a murky pond – all while blindfolded.
Jason McDonald filmed the madcap stunt – which saw him wade blind into a pool containing more than 50 of the reptiles – at Colorado Gator Farm in Mosca, USA, earlier this month.
The fearless 36-year-old, who has only been bitten once in his life, used his outstretched arms to feel for the huge gators while moving slowly through the muddy water.
Amazing footage shows him successfully locating an 8ft-long American alligator within minutes before grappling the beast to the surface while miraculously avoiding injury despite realising he had been holding it by the JAW.
Jason, from Aurora, Colorado, said: “Every year we try to catch as many alligators as we can to give them health checks before winter sets in, but I really wanted footage of me doing it blindfolded.
“Working with alligators is not a thinking person’s job – if you think about it you are going to get bitten, you just have to go in there and do it.
“There were between 50 and 60 alligators in that pond, ranging in size between 7ft and 10ft long. The people watching were pretty amazed I went in there with a blindfold on.
“The fact I had a blindfold on blew people’s minds but actually I would use basically the same techniques whether or not I had one on, although obviously I was at a disadvantage because I couldn’t see which did make it seem much more dangerous and impressive.
“I don’t get worried, so I wasn’t scared about being bitten – I’ve been doing this for 12 years and I know what I have to do so I just focus on that.”
Colorado Gator Farm is currently home to more than 300 alligators – more than 200 of which were rescued from unsuitable homes or surrendered to the park by police.
The animals have to be regularly caught and checked to make sure they are healthy and each year the team attempt to catch all of the reptiles, although this isn’t always possible.
During the check ups, alligators which had already been given a clean bill of health are daubed with animal-friendly paint to differentiate them.
In 12 years Jason has only been bitten once – suffering three puncture wounds to his hand during a stunt four years ago where he held an alligator’s mouth open with his chin.
The rescue alligator he caught when the footage was filmed earlier this month was almost 8ft long and 12 years old.
Jason, who is also an alligator wrestling instructor, said: “Because the water is cloudy and murky, a lot of the time if you are underwater you can touch them and they do not know what is touching them.
“When I caught the one in the video I just felt with my hands and I thought I was touching its leg, but I had actually grabbed the face and jaw.
“I was trying to feel with my hands – at first I was feeling with my feet but I actually kicked two more alligators just walking around so I got down on my knees and started using my hands instead.
“One was hissing at me, but I couldn’t see it. I told the people I was with to let me know if they saw one coming right at my chest.
“The gators have to have check-ups because we try and let them live in as natural an environment as possible, but this means they do fight and injure each other.
“I did it in costume to have some fun and make it more entertaining for the people watching, but we are very serious about catching the gators as safely as possible both for the animals and for myself.
“During this attempt I had two spotters watching to make sure I was safe. If we had seen an alligator which needed to be treated for any injuries, I would have taken off the blindfold and caught that one instead.”