We’ve seen bunnies in wheelchairs, sea turtles with prosthetic limbs, but as far as the Phoenix Herpetological Society knows, this is the very first alligator learning to swim with a prosthetic tail.
Mr. Stubbs, named due to his lack of a tail, was rescued from the back of a truck in 2005. He was one of 32 gators who were being transported illegally. The Arizona Game and Fish Department brought him to the Phoenix Society.
X-rays showed that his tail had been bitten off, most likely by another alligator. That meant, instead of being rehomed at a zoo or wildlife sanctuary like others of his species, Mr. Stubbs had to stay put. Over the course of six months, his handlers taught him how to doggy paddle using his front legs so he could get around in the water. But now, after a year and a half of dreaming, planning and building, Mr. Stubbs, who, on his own, is a 7-foot gator, has a tail to help him learn to swim the way he was born to. With it, he is eleven feet long.
Russ Johnson, president of the Phoenix Herpetological Society, said, “The fact he doesn’t try to bite it (the tail) is a good sign. Learning how to use it is going to take a lot of training.”
The tail is lightweight, buoyant, and moves when the gator wiggles his rear stump. It will take him time to learn to use it, but things are looking good so far.
Check out the video below to see Mr. Stubbs in action.
Via The Republic