April 4, 2009

Crocodile dies 2 weeks after surgery

An unprecedented operation has failed to save the life of an American crocodile that was hit by a car three months ago in the Florida Keys.

The crocodile, nicknamed RoboCroc after a veterinarian attached four metal rods to his skull, was found dead Thursday morning at MetroZoo in Miami, The Miami Herald reported Saturday. It survived the surgery by two weeks.

When the American crocodile was discovered in March, it had not eaten for three months after being hit in December. The animal was weak and close to death.

Dr. Doug Mader of Marathon used 41 screws in an attempt to rebuild the crocodile's head so it could eat again, KeysNet.com said.

It's so sad. It was a long shot, though. We knew that, said Andrea Obregon, a spokeswoman for MetroZoo.

The American crocodile, which can grow to be as much as 20 feet long, has a range from southern Mexico to Peru and Venezuela. The crocodile is also found on some Caribbean islands and a population of about 1,200 remains in the Keys and on the Florida Bay coast of the Everglades.