Cuban crocodiles receive surgery to extract foreign items

dvm360dvm360 March 2023
Volume 54
Issue 3
Pages: 14

Plastic bottle fell into crocodile enclosure at Zoo Miami and posed threat to these creatures

One of the crocodiles undergoing surgery at Zoo Miami (Photo courtesy of Ron Magill).

One of the crocodiles undergoing surgery at Zoo Miami (Photo courtesy of Ron Magill).

Zoo Miami announced that its duo of highly endangered Cuban crocodiles, male Leroy and female Princess, were sedated and brought to its animal hospital where radiographs were performed to identify if there were foreign items in their stomachs.

According to an organizational release,1 these exams were considered necessary when reports came in from patrons that a plastic bottle had fallen into the habitat. The bottle could not be found when staff members searched the area so they assumed one of the crocodiles ingested it. If naturally passed, this had the potential to cause digestive obstructions that could result in serious complications, and even be fatal.

Radiographs detected various small unidentifiable items in the stomachs of both crocodiles, with Princess having what appeared to be a large bottle cap. The team members used an endoscope to look in Leroy’s stomach, however nothing significant was discovered. Several fruitless attempts were made to use the endoscope on Princess, so it was agreed upon that because the foreign object was smaller in size, she would be closely monitored in hopes of passing it naturally.1

Unfortunately, there have been other times that these crocodiles needed medical treatment for foreign items they have consumed. In 2019, Leroy required gastric surgery to remove a metal can and Princess had a plastic baby bottle removed with an endoscope.

According to the release,1 Zoo Miami animals have ingested everything from cell phones to sunglasses, causing substantial stress and at times, physical harm to these creatures. The organization stressed to zoo visitors to ensure their personal items are secure so animals do not have access to them and face dangers.


Cuban crocodiles undergo procedures to remove foreign items. News release. Zoo Miami. January 25, 2023. Accessed January 26, 2023.

Related Videos
dvm360 Live! with Dr. Adam Christman
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.