A nine-year-old Florida boy, who successfully held off a nine-foot, four-hundred-pound alligator while swimming in a lake, is recovering in the hospital from the run-in, but not without a prize by his bedside: the tooth of the gator who tried to break him.

James Barney Jr. was attacked by the gator in Saint Cloud, Fla. on Thursday. Barney was swimming in the lake when he felt something brush against him. He reacted by mercilessly beating the hell out of the beast.

Via ABC News:

"I just immediately hit it and I let it go a little so I pry its jaw open," James Barney Jr. said.


"First I thought someone was just playing with me and I didn't know what happened. I reached down to go grab it and I felt its jaw, I felt its teeth," Barney said.

The boy came out of the scuffle with over thirty bite marks into his body, but was given the alligator's tooth as a reward, a tooth he should like to wear on a necklace as proof of men's dominion over the animal kingdom.

The gator is still on the loose, but the lake is now closed to swimmers until the boy takes his reward: that tooth.

Barney escaped with only minor alligator bites and a memorable souvenir, the animal's tooth.

"I want to put it on a necklace so that I can tell all my friends," he said.

[Image via AP]