A zoo crocodile weighing almost 350 pounds, 10.5-foot-long has undergone successful surgery two months after it ate a tourist's shoe.
The problem started when the crocodile named Anuket at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in St. Augustine, Florida, ate a shoe that fell off a tourist's foot while they were ziplining over the enclosure in December 2020. Anuket and another crocodile named Sobek live in the enclosure.
Scientists at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine were called in to help with zoo medicine resident Garrett Fraess initially attempting to remove the shoe by reaching his arm up and through the crocodile's esophagus, the university said in a statement on social media.
But nothing worked and Anuket needed surgery, which is when the vets decided to perform gastrotomy for an easy access to the crocodile's stomach.
The initial plan during the surgery was to have Dr. Adam Biedrzycki, a large animal surgeon, attempt to manipulate the shoe through an incision and push it from the stomach to the esophagus, where Fraess hoped to be able to grab hold of the shoe to pull it out.
"That effort, too, failed," said the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. "Biedrzycki then performed a gastrotomy which allowed easier access to the crocodile's stomach. Within a short time, he was able to remove the shoe. After an overnight stay, Anuket returned home, and has been recuperating at the park since then."
The social media post of the zoo said, "Anuket is recovering well back at our zoo in an off-display area, but her full recovery will take some time before she will be able to rejoin Sobek in the Oasis."