A 10-year-old girl survived an alligator attack in Florida by poking her fingers in the animal's nostrils and prying open its jaws, officials have said.
The young girl's amazing escape was said to have resulted from survival techniques she learned at Gatorland, an alligator adventure park.
The child had been paddling in a designated swimming area of Lake Mary Jane, Orlando, on Saturday afternoon (6 May) in water about two-feet deep when an alligator – nearly nine-foot long – bit her on the leg, local news channel WFTV9 reported.
The girl hit the animal's sensitive nose in a bid to free herself, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.
When that failed, she reportedly stuck her fingers in the alligator's nostrils and pried open its mouth to release her leg from its grip.
The girl suffered puncture wounds to her knee and thigh and was taken to Nemours Children's Hospital.
She has reportedly since been released from hospital and is being cared for at home. Several members of the girl's family were nearby at the time of the attack.
"To get an animal with the strongest bite on the planet to let go of you is a miracle," Donald Aldarelli, a representative from Gatorland, told WFTV9. "I'm just happy that she heard it here... I'm amazed that she's alive to tell this story."
Repeating the advice given to the girl, he added: "If you're ever in that position where an alligator were to grab a hold of you – the nose, not the eyes, the nose is the spot you want to go for."
The swimming area in Lake Mary Jane was closed and the alligator responsible for the attack trapped and euthanised, officials said.
An investigation is ongoing into the circumstances of the attack.
Officials say there have been 263 major alligator attacks in the state since 1948, with 24 resulting in fatalities.
Last year, a two-year-old toddler was attacked and killed by an alligator at Disney World's Grand Floridian resort – leading to more alligator warning signs throughout Orange County.
A woman also lost an arm after being mauled in Wekiva Springs in 2015.
"It's one of the things us Floridians just know," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Chad Weber said. "If there's a body of water, there's likely to be a gator in it."