UF veterinarians successfully remove shoe from stomach of crocodile

If the shoe fits your fancy …. swallow it? Not a good idea! This 10.5-foot, 341-pound Nile crocodile, named Anuket, came to the UF Veterinary Hospitals on Feb. 5 for removal of a shoe she had swallowed in December. It had fallen off of a zipliner at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, where she lives, and into her habitat.

Anuket was witnessed eating the shoe, and subsequently seen regurgitating it — then eating it right back up again.

Previous efforts to flush out her sneaker at the farm and at UF had been unsuccessful. During her most recent visit to UF, Dr. Garrett Fraess, a zoological medicine resident, initially attempted to remove the shoe by reaching his arm up and through the crocodile’s esophagus but was unsuccessful.

The zoo medicine team then took Anuket for surgery, where Dr. Adam Biedrzycki, a large animal surgeon, attempted to manipulate the shoe through an incision and push it from the stomach to the esophagus, where Fraess hoped to be able to feel and grab hold of the shoe to pull it out. That effort, too, failed.

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. After an overnight stay, Anuket returned home, and has been recuperating at the park since then. Park staff report that she is doing well.

(Video and photos: Sarah Carey)

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January-February 2021

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