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Zoo removes 70 coins from alligator's stomach, requests visitors to avoid throwing money in water

In a recent incident at Henry Doorly Zoo, Thibodaux the alligator underwent emergency surgery to remove 70 coins from his stomach.

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In a recent incident at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Thibodaux, a beloved 36-year-old alligator, found himself in a precarious situation. Zoo officials were taken aback when they discovered an unexpected stash of 70 coins in Thibodaux's stomach during a routine examination late last week.

Swift action was taken as Thibodaux underwent an urgent medical procedure to extract the coins, which could have posed serious harm to the reptile. Dr. Christina Ploog, an associate veterinarian at the zoo who led the procedure, explained the complexities involved.

"With the help of his training, Thibodaux was anesthetized and intubated to allow us to safely manage him during the procedure," said Dr. Ploog. "A plastic pipe was placed to protect his mouth and safely pass the tools used to access the coins, such as a camera that helped us guide the retrieval of these objects."

Thankfully, the operation was a success, with all 70 coins safely removed from Thibodaux's stomach. A follow-up X-ray confirmed the successful extraction, and Thibodaux has since recovered well and returned to his habitat.

While such procedures are not common, Taylor Yaw, the zoo's veterinarian and director of animal health, emphasized the dedication of the zoo's animal care and health teams in providing excellent care to all inhabitants.

In light of this incident, the zoo issued a reminder to visitors, urging them not to toss coins into any bodies of water within the premises. Instead, loose change can be exchanged for souvenir coins at designated machines scattered throughout the zoo or deposited into the coin wishing well located in the atrium of the Desert Dome.

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