SCOTTSDALE, AZ - An injured alligator has a new lease on life after being fitted with a prosthetic tail.
Mr. Stubbs was missing his tail when he arrived at Phoenix Herpetological Society, probably losing it to the bite of another gator.
American alligators are normally well adapted swimmers, but without a tail, Mr. Stubbs was in danger of drowning in his pond.
He was rescued by PHS and has been fitted with a prosthetic tail that took over a year to develop.
A team was assembled and several options were considered for creating a new tail for Mr. Stubbs.
According to a PHS news release, researchers at the CORE institute worked with researchers at Midwestern University to determine the ideal size and density of the tail needed to recreate the proper body proportion and weight distributions for the alligator.
The final step was creating a harness system to securely attach the new prosthetic tail to Mr. Stubbs' body without creating pressure points that could cause discomfort or skin issues.
The tale appears to have a happy ending; Mr. Stubbs is adapting to his new balance in the water, but after almost eight years he needs to be ‘untaught' the dog paddle he's used to adapt, so he can swim like a normal alligator.