A snack bound to cause an upset stomach.
A Nile crocodile recently underwent surgery after eating a tourist’s shoe.
The incident happened two months ago at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in St. Augustine, Florida.
Anuket, who clocks in at nearly 350 pounds and 10.5-feet-long, ate a shoe that fell off of a tourist’s foot while they were zip-lining in December 2020.
“Our team members observed Anuket swallow the shoe, regurgitate it, and then swallow it again before we were able to retrieve it,” the zoological park posted on social media.
The zoo said it wasn’t unusual behavior as “crocodilians explore their surroundings by biting and testing an item to see if it’s food, and they swallow their food whole.”
However, it wasn’t a nutritious snack either.
The zoo said they “waited and watched Anuket, hoping she would regurgitate the shoe again.
When several weeks passed without the crocodile returning the shoe, the zoo decided to try flushing the reptile’s stomach.
“This technique of stomach flushing is commonly used when crocodilians swallow an inedible item or during scientific research in the field to see what crocodilians have been eating,” zoo workers explained.
“We flushed her stomach multiple times, massaged her abdomen to move the shoe, and even reached inside to try to find it,” but nothing seemed to work.
The zoo called in experts from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine to attempt the removal.
Per ABC News, zoo medicine resident Garrett Fraess tried to reach his arm up and through the crocodiles esophagus.
Sadly, none of the measures taken “to avoid major abdominal surgery” worked.
Dr. Adam Biedrzycki, a large animal surgeon, hoped he’d be able to manipulate the shoe through an incision and push it from the stomach through the esophagus, which was a failed attempt. He eventually had to perform a gastronomy.
“Within a short time, he was able to remove the shoe. After an overnight stay, Anuket returned home, and has been recuperating at the park since then,” he university noted.
The park said Anuket is recovering, which will take “some time.” They hope she can reunite with her enclosure mate, a croc named Sobek, soon.
The moral of the story: don’t eat falling shoes not matter how tasty they may look.