A female alligator that lost its top jaw in an accident has found a new lease of life in a Florida theme park.
In response to The Straits Times’ queries, Gatorland said the trapper who took the alligator to the park believes that its injury was possibly due to an accident with a boat propeller.
“Gatorland has its vet doing a full examination of the alligator and the team is dedicated to its complete care at the park,” it added.
“Gatorland offered to take in the injured alligator as part of its Gatorland Global program to conserve and protect alligators and crocodiles in Florida and worldwide.”
In a Facebook post on Sept 16, Gatorland had said that the newcomer “had basically no chance of surviving in the wild”.
The reptile’s plight first came to light in late August after a Facebook post by Ms Katrina Shadix, who noticed the alligator resting on a canoe launch and contacted Gatorland, which claims to house thousands of alligators and crocodiles.
After the alligator’s severe injury attracted attention from international media, it was rescued more than two weeks later and taken to the theme park, which dubs itself the alligator capital of the world. The park nurses alligators to health and lets them live out their reptilian lives in its giant lakes.
American alligators live about 50 years in the wild, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s website.
Gatorland park director Mike Hileman told Florida television station Wesh that the alligator has been surviving off animals like frogs and snails after its snout was cut off.
“That wound that she has healed over. So she has been able to feed herself without a top jaw for some time now. That’s impressive,” Mr Hileman said.
The park has been feeding the alligator with bite-size pieces of chicken, fish and steak that she’ll throw back into her throat, according to Wesh.
Acknowledging the alligator’s internet fame, Mr Hileman added: “I mean she’s really getting a lot of attention… Become a little diva. But right now she’s very good, very down to earth, very humble at this point.”
On Facebook, the park said staff and a veterinarian will be watching over the alligator for a few days and concentrate on getting her to eat in a stress-free environment so that it can enjoy its new home in “Alligator Paradise”.
The popular reptile, however, is still unnamed and Gatorland is appealing to members of the public to help name the critter on Facebook.
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