prospect park

What Item Was Found Inside NYC Alligator, and Why It Can't Yet Be Removed

The nearly five-foot gator is undergoing treatment at the Bronx Zoo

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There's new information about the alligator that was found over the weekend at Brooklyn's Prospect Park, including what was found inside the reptile and why it can't yet be removed.

The nearly five-foot gator is undergoing treatment at the Bronx Zoo. The female was spotted inside the park on Sunday and was easily captured by trained animal officials due to it being extremely emaciated, "lethargic and suffering from exposure to cold temperatures," the zoo said in a statement Wednesday.

The alligator is still too weak and unresponsive to eat on its own, the zoo said, so it is being tube-fed with "nutrients as well as fluids, vitamin B, antibiotics and an antifungal medication."

When the reptile was captured, it weighed only 15 pounds — less than half of what a gator of its size should weigh at its size and age, which officials estimated to be around five or six years.

The zoo said that x-rays showed the animal had at one point ingested a four-inch bathtub stopper that can't yet be removed. While it wasn't immediately known where the alligator may have eaten it, it's possible that it's from where someone had been keeping the creature as a pet before releasing it.

"The alligator is currently in too weakened a condition to attempt removal of the stopper," the Bronx Zoo said in a statement. "We will continue to provide supportive care for her and determine next steps based on how she responds to treatment."

Alligators are obviously not native to the area, and experts warn that exotic animals can harm local species and the environment. Keeping an alligator as a pet is illegal in New York, as is releasing animals into city parks.

Officials at the Bronx Zoo hope to remove the four-inch stopper once the alligator is healthy enough to undergo the procedure.
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