Jacob Pursifull arrested jumping into alligator pit at Tampa’s Busch Gardens to boost TikTok following as stunt is captured on video.
‘If only the gator reacted a little faster…’ A social media influencer has been arrested after jumping into an alligator pit at Tampa’s Busch Gardens earlier this month in a bid to boost his TikTok following.
Jacob Pursifull, 20, was charged with burglary, theft of services and trespass by the Tampa Bay Police Department Monday, nearly a week after the June 1 stunt.
A video posted to TikTok shows Pursifull sneaking into the theme park by climbing over a wall, stealing some ice cream before making his way to the alligator enclosure.
@ethereal_fairy_wishes full context of the day, Jacob Pursifull, decided to break into the Busch Gardens Alligator pit. details and article of outcome will be shown towards the end of the video. #buschgardens #alligator #isthecloutworthit? #thinkaboutit #heriskedhislife ♬ Bad Boys (Theme from “Cops”) – Coded Channel
‘Another wild Karen, crikey!’
The Louisiana-native hops over a fence and begins to do an over the top Australian accent in the spirit of the late Steve Irwin while repeatedly misidentifying the animals in question as crocodiles. There are multiple ‘Do Not Enter’ signs visible in the video
The gators in the enclosure are up to 15 feet long and weigh around 1,000 pounds.
‘Crikey mate, this is insane, let’s get a closer look shall we, just to see how it is,’ Pursifull is heard saying while recording the reptiles. ‘We have never been this close to the alligator, the crocodile guys, crikey look how big that bugger is.’
During the video, Pursifull, points at numerous women telling him to get out of the enclosure by saying: ‘Another wild Karen, crikey!’
A statement from the Tampa police said that Pursifull was accompanied by two others, one of whom filmed the prank.
In an interview with Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Reid denied having anything to do with Pursifull’s actions.
‘He went wayyy crazy, if you know what I mean, and that’s when I had to step back and choose not to involve myself… I definitely think it’s crazy and possibly viral content but definitely don’t condone illegal behavior,’ Reid said.
❌DON’T DO THIS ❌ A man hopped the barrier around an alligator exhibit at @BuschGardens in Tampa.
Nick Reid says the guy was roughly 5 feet away from an alligator before getting back on the other side.
📸: Nick Reid pic.twitter.com/FEdznkSoIm
— Gage Goulding – NBC2 (@GageGoulding) June 2, 2023
At what cost social media fame and clout?
‘We’re gonna see if we can try and sneak out of here’ Pursifull says before jumping over the fences to leave the pit as he runs away.
Police said that it was thanks to Pursifull posting the video online that they were able to identify him and eventually take him into custody. He is being held at Orient Road Jail in Tampa on a $8,500 bail.
Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Founder Vernon Yates told Fox Tampa Bay that Pursifull’s behavior was ‘stupid.’
‘There was no sign of animal respect there, because if he understood that if one of those animals would have grabbed him, they would’ve killed the animal,’ Yates said.
‘I think that’s a big part that most people don’t understand, that when these kinds of animals hurt somebody, they become dead animals,’ he added.
‘To the scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, he’s an 11 on what he did wrong, and there’s no way you can say to love and respect animals, and you do something that stupid,’ Yates added.
‘If only the gators reacted a little faster…’
Many commenters to Pursifull’s video were cheering for the reptiles instead of the TikToker.
‘Again, I’m still rooting for the gators,’ one commenter said.
‘Omg wish the gator reacted a little faster,’ another user said.
‘Everyone point and laugh because he didn’t go viral,’ a third added.
On his TikTok account, Pursifull who goes by the handle of ‘ethereal-fairy-wishes’ refers to himself as a ‘nano-influencer.’ Pursifull, has been sharing videos of him performing pranks on people since 2020.