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A Nile crocodile is recovering after having a sneaker surgically removed from her stomach.
And it’s a good thing she didn’t wait for the other shoe to drop, as efforts to remove the sneaker without cutting into the croc proved unsuccessful, including an attempt by one doctor to simply reach in through the reptile’s esophagus to pull it out.
Anuket, a 10.5-foot, 341-pound crocodile from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, swallowed the shoe after a ziplining zoo-goer lost it in December. Guests near the reptile’s enclosure at the time witnessed Anuket gobbling the sneaker, then regurgitating it, then eating it up once again. It remained in her stomach for nearly three months, according to a Facebook post by the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville.
Once doctors determined that Anuket would not be able to “flush out” the sneaker naturally, they resorted to a few other tricks they had up their sleeves. One resident tried grabbing the shoe through the croc’s gaping gullet. After realizing the shoe had been lodged too deep, vets then tried shifting the shoe further up Anuket’s stomach, through a tiny incision in the stomach, and reaching in through the throat once again — to no avail.
“That effort, too, failed,” read Tuesday’s Facebook update. “[Dr. Adam] 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.”
On February 5, Anuket underwent a brief operation to have the sneaker removed. “After an overnight stay, Anuket returned home, and has been recuperating at the park since then,” the vets added.
Zoo handlers have said they are “happy” that Anuket is doing well — for now, at least, as one follower on Facebook warned, “I hear [crocodiles] will eat almost anything.”
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