For the past year, doctors in Arizona have been preparing to provide a prosthetic tail for an alligator who lost his to a bigger, hungry alligator years ago. The nine-year-old alligator, named Mr. Stubs, is one of the most iconic alligators at the Phoenix Herpetological Society, since his body is nearly half the size of any other alligator his age.
Since he is missing a tail, Mr. Stubs has difficulty swimming and competing with other alligators for prey. “His body just spins around in the water so he just churns up a lot of water, doesn’t go anywhere forward,” Phoenix Herpetological Society Curator Daniel Marchand told CBS 5 in Phoenix. ”If there are other alligators with him, of course without a tail, he’d be the last one to the dinner table,” he said.
Alligators also store fat in their tail and along their back, putting Mr. Stubs at a significant disadvantage if he already has to compete with more agile alligators for food. ”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.