MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It’s a rare day when an alligator undergoes surgery but it happened just a couple of days ago for a gator who lives at Everglades Holiday Park in Broward County.
The gator named ‘Flaco” had his eye removed. The surgery went well but it was needed after the alligator got into a tussle with another gator at the park, injuring his eye which eventually got infected.
Everglades Holiday Park Director Ashley Lawrence said caretakers hide the medicine in food like beef.
“It’s funny. Alligators, much like children, don’t like taking medicine,” said Lawrence.“Put the medicine in and give it to them.”
Flaco was rescued after people at a boat dock fed him and he lost his fear of people. He’s lived at the park ever since.
“He is recovering from surgery. When he came to us, he was blind in both eyes,” said Lawrence.
She said the fact that he can’t see is possibly a reason he didn’t close his eye when he was scratched by another gator about two months ago.
When Flaco’s eye wasn’t better after antibiotics, they opted for surgery and his right eye was removed.
“He’ll need a new pirate name but yeah, he’s doing well,” said Lawrence.
It’s sewn shut from the surgery two days ago, but the stitches will be removed in a few weeks.
“He’s going to have a lifetime of being spoiled,” said Lawrence.
When he was rescued, he was very thin hence the name. Flaco which, in Spanish means skinny boy. He’s now a healthy 200 plus pounds at 9 feet long and at the age of somewhere from 25 to 55. The gator will likely live to be about a hundred years old and have a long pampered life.
“We’re real excited to see him heal up,” said Lawrence.
Dr. Doug Mader who specializes in exotic animals, especially reptiles performed the thirty minute surgery at Marathon Veterinary Hospital.