Alligator’s prosthetic tail: An Arizona-based alligator named Mr. Stubbs became the first to receive a prosthetic tail.
An alligator in Arizona has become the first in the world to be fitted with an artificial tail.
The 7-foot-long gator, named Mr. Stubbs, was unable to guide his swimming after his tail was bit off eight years ago, according to the Arizona Republic. The alligator was fitted with a 3-foot tail, which was attached by nylon straps by the Phoenix Herpetological Society.
“The fact he doesn’t try to bite it (the tail) is a good sign,” Russ Johnson, head of the Phoenix Herpetological Society, told the paper. “Learning how to use it is going to take a lot of training.”
The alligator lost his tail after fighting with another gator and was eventually brought to the Society in 2005. He was found in the back of a truck with about 30 other illegally kept alligators in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“As far as we know, as of today, there are no reptiles in the world that have ever received a prosthetic limb of any kind,” the organization’s curator, Daniel Marchand, told KPHO television.
If Mr. Stubbs was not given a tail, he would likely drown in the pond where he is kept.
“When we first got him, if the water was too deep for him to touch the bottom, he would roll over onto his back and could not right himself,” Johnson told the station. “We had to teach him to swim by dog paddling, like you teach a child to swim.”
Johnson said it would take between three and six months for Mr. Stubbs to train himself to swim again.
“He is going to have a long and happy life here,” Johnson told the Republic. “Right now I want to get him to the point where he doesn’t need that floaty anymore. That way the other gators will stop making fun of him.”