Phoenix alligator may be 1st in the world to get prosthetic tail
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
The Phoenix Herpetological Society is full of reptiles, but one really stands out. He's a 9-year-old alligator named Mr. Stubs.
"In the world of alligators, they are cannibalistic so a larger alligator tried to make a meal out of Mr. Stubs," said curator Daniel Marchand.
The meaning behind his moniker is pretty clear, the poor guy's tail turned into that bigger gator's snack. He's lived without that important limb for years, which means Mr. Stubs can't swim.
"His body just spins around in the water so he just churns up a lot of water, doesn't go anywhere forward," Marchand said.
"If there are other alligators with him, of course without a tail, he'd be the last one to the dinner table," he said.
Since gators store food in their tails during the winter time, Mr. Stubs is out of luck there too.
"We have to be careful that he doesn't basically starve to death in a sense because that tail only supplies obviously very little food," Marchand said.
So after years of just dealing with the hand their were dealt, workers found a little cinematic inspiration. The movie Dolphin Tale is based on the true story of a dolphin that got a prosthetic tail. It seemed logical Mr. Stubs would benefit from the same technology.
"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," Marchand said.
There's a first time for everything, so doctors have been measuring Mr. Stubs and figuring out how to make this work for about a year.
"And through X-rays, we found out that there is enough backbone there," Marchand said.
Now it's a matter of building the flexible, water friendly appendage to propel Mr. Stubs to the front of the dinner line. Mr. Stubs is expected to live for another 60 years or so, and he'll get much bigger, so chances are he'll need more than one prosthetic tail in his lifetime.
It's all paid for by donations, so if you'd like to help Mr. Stubs or any of the other reptiles at the Phoenix Herpetological Society just click here.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Sunday, April 20 2014 12:25 PM EDT2014-04-20 16:25:32 GMT
Authorities are investigating a convenience store shooting.Raytown police were called to a QuikTrip in the 8700 block of East 63 Street about 1:30 a.m. Sunday after reports that a person that had beenMore >
Authorities are investigating a convenience store shooting.More >
Friday, April 18 2014 9:53 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:53:24 GMT
The police department's statements detail their use of GPS tracking, surveillance and the help of tips from the public that led to the eventual arrest of Mohammed Whitaker, the man suspected of being theMore >
Court documents detail how new-age technology, old-fashioned police work and observant eyewitnesses led to the capture of the man that authorities say was responsible for a string of highway shootings that terrorized the area.More >
Sunday, April 20 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-04-20 13:36:54 GMT
One person is in the hospital after a car crash on Interstate 70. It happened near Lee's Summit Road early Sunday morning and involved multiple vehicles. Police had to shut down a section of the interstateMore >
One person is in the hospital after a car crash on Interstate 70 in Independence. More >
Sunday, April 20 2014 9:44 PM EDT2014-04-21 01:44:11 GMT
Authorities said a death investigation is underway in a KCK neighborhood.Kansas City, KS, police were called about 12:40 p.m. Sunday to the 700 block of North 70th Terrace.No other details were immediatelyMore >
Authorities said a death investigation is underway in a KCK neighborhood.More >