The first thing Mark Lahodik asked for after waking up at a Florida hospital was the head of the gator he fought off.
While many people would just be thankful to be alive, a Florida gator attack survivor wanted a trophy.
Mark Lahodik's family says the first thing the 51-year-old dad wanted when he awoke at a Ft. Myers hospital earlier this month was the head of the beast that bit him.
"My dad really wanted to keep it because he wanted something to show the gator he fought off,” Mark's daughter, Kaelin Lahodik, told WINK News.
Lahodik was attacked while diving for golf balls in a lake at the Rotonda Golf & Country Club on July 7. The reptile grabbed his arm and wouldn't let go, so he started punching it in the eyes, according to reports.
Onlookers called 911 after he emerged from the pond. "It’s all the way down to the bone," one caller told the operator.
Diving for golf balls is a common practice and a $200 million industry. The recovered golf balls are resold for profit. However, there's always the risk of a deadly encounter with a hungry gator.
The gator was euthanized, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission protocol.
Lahodik will likely recover, but it's expected to be a long struggle. While he's successfully undergone surgery, his daughter said it will be about a year before he can return to work of any kind.
Nonetheless, Kaelin said her dad has kept his sense of humor.
“I call him gator bait now and he laughs every time," she told WINK.