MOORE HAVEN (CBSMiami) – A Southwest Florida teenager is recovering in a Ft. Myers hospital after an alligator bit off the kids’ right arm below the elbow.

Kaleb Langdale, 17, lost his arm to the gator that was later caught and killed. The arm was recovered from the alligator, but doctors were unable to reattach it.

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“We found the alligator that was responsible,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino said. “We were able to kill the alligator and dissect the alligator, remove the arm and transport the arm to the hospital to see if the doctors could reattach the limb.”

CBS Affiliate WINK reports that Langdale, (also known as Fred), was swimming with friends in the Caloosahatchee River Monday when the gator suddenly attacked.

“The gator was about two feet away from him, just came straight at him,” Matthew Baker, who was in the water with Langdale at the time, told WINK.

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Baker said Langdale knew exactly what to do: “He’s been around alligators all his life, He’s smart enough, he knows if he offers him his arm, he won’t take his torso. He was smart, he took the risk.”

Since 1948, 224 people have suffered major alligator bites, including 22 fatal bites, according to June 2011 conservation commission data.

Wildlife officials said now, just after mating season, happens to be a very active time of year for gators.

“Eggs are already laid, but the gators are still very active,” FWC Captain Jeff Ardelean told WINK. “Any type of commotion on the water is potential food in their eyes.”

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