AN ALLIGATOR whose tail was bitten off by a rival has become the first in the world to be fitted with a prosthetic replacement.
• An alligator called Mr Stubbs becomes the first to receive a prosthetic limb
• Nine-year-old reptile was unable to swim after having tail bitten off by another alligator
The nine-year-old reptile, called Mr Stubbs, was left unable to swim as a result of the fight.
Reptile experts at the Herpetological Society in Phoenix, Arizona constructed a state-of-the-art tail made of latex and silicone light enough to enable Mr Stubbs to swim, although the alligator is still undertaking lessons in order to master his new appendage.
Russ Johnson, from the society, said: “Mr Stubbs was probably very young and someone put him in with a much larger alligator – and the alligator bit it off.
“Alligators are cannibals so if you’re the smallest and someone else is hungry – you’re basically a menu item.
“A tail is a vital appendage for an alligator. Without a tail, an alligator can’t swim – he can’t move forward in the water so he just splashes in circles. Needless to say, a tailless existence is not a very pleasing lifestyle for an alligator.”
Mr Stubbs was found among 32 alligators in the back of a truck that had been stopped as it drove through Arizona and handed over to the Herpetological Society, which houses 1,500 reptiles.
It is expected that the alligator will require over 40 replacements of the tail over the next 60 years