Rare White Alligator from Nebraska Zoo Underwent Surgery to Have 70 Coins Removed from Its Stomach

A white alligator named “Thibodaux” from a Nebraska zoo underwent surgery to have 70 metal coins removed from its stomach. The 36-year-old alligator is one of the 10 American alligators under the care of Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska, where veterinarians performed the surgical procedure. The coins were found inside Thibodaux’s stomach following a routine exam, which detected the metal foreign objects.

Alligators are known for eating almost anything, ranging from amphibians to small fish, birds, and mammals; and their diet does not include coins. However, this is not the case at the Omaha zoo where visitors are reportedly tossing coins into the enclosure of Thibodaux, who likely snacked on these foreign objects.

Following the incident, officials at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium asked visitors not to toss coins into any water enclosures of animals.

Coins Found Inside Alligator’s Stomach

Rare White Alligator from Nebraska Zoo Underwent Surgery to Have 70 Coins Removed from Its Stomach
(Photo : Photo by David Valentine on Unsplash)

In a Facebook post, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium announced that its veterinarians identified the 70 United States coins (totalling $7) from the stomach of Thibodaux the alligator. This led to a veterinary procedure on February 15.

According to Christina Ploog, a veterinarian at the Nebraska zoo, Thibodaux, with the help of his training, was anesthetized and intubated to allow the animal doctors to manage the procedure.

The surgery involved the placing of a plastic pipe to protect the mouth of the white alligator, allowing the safe passage of tools needed to access and extract the coins from the gator’s stomach, where an internal camera is also in place, Ploog added.

Following the procedure, all of the coins were removed and Thibodaux is already recovering well. Meanwhile, zoo officials asked the public to convert their coins into souvenir coins or toss their coins at a wishing well.

This is not the first that non-living objects were found inside the stomachs of alligators, which can cause health complications and even death from the accumulation of metal foreign objects. In 2019, an American alligator was found dead at a Nagoya zoo in Japan, where an autopsy revealed that the reptile had more than 330 coins and arcade tokens inside its stomach.

The alligator’s enclosure was at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Also Read: Woman Recovered from 19-foot Crocodile’s Stomach Shortly After Swallowing Her Whole Body in Indonesia

Strangest Objects Found in Animal Stomachs

Aside from alligators, other animals such as sharks, fish, turtles, and large mammals are also susceptible to eating unwanted objects into their bodies. Below are some related incidents of the strangest objects found in animal stomachs, as compiled by Ranker, a website that features polls and databases of opinions from over 1 billion voters.

In Norway, a large vibrator was found inside the gut of an 11-pound codfish. Fishermen reportedly believed the fish may have eaten the object by mistake. In the US, an exhibition by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County back in the 1990s includes a shark with a whole suit of armor found in its stomach.

In Thailand, a turtle was found to have almost 1,000 coins inside its stomach.

Related Article: In World’s First Discovery, Dinosaur Found Inside Stomach of Fossilized Crocodile

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