350-pound crocodile undergoes major surgery to remove tourist's shoe from stomach

A 10.5-foot-long crocodile weighing almost 350 pounds was successfully operated on two months after consuming a tourist shoe.
The problem started when Anuket, who lives in the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in St. Augustine, Florida, ate a shoe that fell off a tourist's foot when they drove over the enclosure where Anuket and another crocodile named Sobek live there.
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"Our team members watched Anuket swallow the shoe, prick it open, and then swallow it again before we could retrieve it," the zoological park said in a statement posted on social media. "Crocodiles explore their surroundings by biting and testing an object to see if it is food, and they swallow their food whole. We waited and watched Anuket, hoping that she would open the shoe again. "
According to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, weeks passed after the 341-pound crocodile swallowed the shoe and the decision was made to try and flush the show out of the crocodile's stomach.
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"This gastric lavage technique is often used when crocodiles swallow an inedible object or during scientific research into the field to determine what crocodiles have been eating," the park said. "We flushed her stomach several times, massaged her stomach to move the shoe, and even reached inward to try to find it."
Scientists from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine were called in to help zoomedicine-based Garrett Fraess, who first tried to take off the shoe by stretching his arm up and through the crocodile's esophagus, the university said in a statement on social media.
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PHOTO: A 10.5 foot long crocodile weighing nearly 350 pounds was successfully operated on two months after consuming a tourist shoe at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in St. Augustine, Florida in December 2020. (University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine / Facebook)
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"All of these measures were taken to avoid major abdominal surgery," said the zoological park.
But nothing the park or university did to take the shoe off worked. Anuket had to be operated on.
The original plan during the operation was that Dr. Adam Biedrzycki, a large animal surgeon, tried to manipulate the shoe through an incision and push it from the stomach to the esophagus, where Fraess hoped to be able to hold the shoe and pull it out.
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"These efforts also failed," said the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. "Biedrzycki then performed a gastrotomy, which enabled easier access to the crocodile's stomach. He was able to take off the shoe within a short time.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park said, "Anuket is recovering well in our zoo in an unexposed area, but her full recovery will take some time before she can return to Sobek at the oasis."
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The zoo had something else to say after confirming that Anukets recovery and care were on track.
"Don't eat falling shoes!"
PHOTO: A 10.5 foot long crocodile weighing nearly 350 pounds was successfully operated on two months after consuming a tourist shoe at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in St. Augustine, Florida in December 2020. (University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine / Facebook)
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350-pound crocodile will have major surgery to remove tourist shoe from stomach, originally posted on abcnews.go.com

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