Each year, our subadult american alligator is removed from the exhibit for a routine physical examination by a contracted veterinarian. The animal is measured, weighed and given a general physical exam, then is returned to the exhibit. This is always a big day for the herpetology department, so all hands are on deck to ensure that this process goes safely and smoothly.
|With the alligator out of the exhibit, keepers jump at the opportunity to get in and do some serious scrubbing.|
|The slow metabolism of reptiles makes it fairly dangerous to put them under anesthesia. Instead, keepers hold the alligator still on the exam table while the vet checks his eyes, mouth, muscle tone and blood chemistry.|
|Travis (left) holds the tape measure used to determine his length (6 feet 2 inches) and he is weighed by zeroing out a scale with my weight and then stepping on holding the alligator. We had bets going for what his weight would be: 63.5 pounds.|
|The last stage in the process is to take routine x-rays of his entire body. For this, keepers wear protective lead gowns while holding the alligator.|
|It took four large x-ray films to cover the entire body. Here they are lined up on light boards.|
|Finally, the alligator is carried back into the exhibit, where he pouted for a few moments but perked right back up at his evening feeding.|
|Thanks for reading!!|