Gator gets prosthetic tail

March 10, 2013 at 4:09 PM
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PHOENIX, March 10 (UPI) -- Mr. Stubbs, an Arizona alligator who had his tail bitten off more than eight years ago, now has a prosthetic tail, his keepers say.

The 11-year-old, 7-foot-long alligator at the Phoenix Herpetological Society may be the first alligator to be fitted with an artificial tail, The Arizona Republic reported Sunday. The Phoenix newspaper said it may take Mr. Stubbs months to learn to properly use his 3-foot rubber tail, which is attached with nylon straps.

"The fact he doesn't try to bite it (the tail) is a good sign," society President Russ Johnson said. "Learning how to use it is going to take a lot of training."

The reptilian rehab project was accomplished with the help of Marc Jacofsky, executive vice president of research and development at the CORE Institute in Phoenix, which specializes in orthopedic care for people. Jacofsky was approached about the possibility of making an artificial tail for Mr. Stubbs during a visit to the society.

"I looked and saw there was enough there that we could probably do something that wouldn't involve surgery," Jacofsky said. "I also liked the idea because it would improve his life. Our motto at the CORE Institute is 'Keep life in motion,' and this certainly fit in with that. I was on board."

The Core Institute donated about $6,000 in labor and materials to help out Mr. Stubbs.

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