The captain of an airboat had his hand bitten off by an alligator as he attempted to feed it.

The guide, identified only as Captain Wally, was leading a boat of six tourists around the Everglades National Park in Florida.

Witnesses said he had leant over the side of the boat, attempting to feed an alligator so the tourists could take photographs, when he was attacked.

The captain was able to steer back to his base, where he was airlifted to hospital. Officials with the Florida Wildlife Commission later found the alligator and killed it before retrieving the hand.

It was packed in ice and taken to the hospital but it is not known whether doctors will be able to re-attach it due to the risk of infection.

The commission is investigating the attack, which took place on Tuesday afternoon near Everglades City. - Daily Mail