A 10-foot crocodile whose face was crushed by a car last year has undergone reconstructive surgery at a Florida zoo.
Last Updated: 6:00PM GMT 18 Mar 2009
Staff from Miami Metro Zoo and Marathon Veterinary Hospital perform reconstructive surgery on an endangered crocodile who's jaw had been broken when it was hit by a car in the Florida Keys Photo: BARCROFT
The four-hour operation took place at Miami's Metrozoo on Tuesday.
The giant male predator, dubbed Robo Croc after the operation left it with a significant amount of metal dotted around its face, was close to death after having its head crushed by a car in the Florida Keys last year.
Unable to move its jaw, the distressed animal had not eaten for three months.
But Douglas Mader, of the Marathon Veterinary Hospital, has saved the reptile by reconstructing its face.
Veterinarians placed two metal rods between its eyes, extending down to the bridge of its nose, and another on each side.
Forty-one metal screws were drilled into its hide, keeping the skull and snout together.
"RoboCroc is doing just fine," said Ron Magill, a spokesman for Miami Metrozoo.
"We have a certain responsibility to our endangered, native species and it was either he die on the table today, or die a horrible, slow death," he told the Miami Herald.
There has been reconstructive surgery undertaken on crocodiles before but not to this extent, according to the zoo's vets.