Call Me Mr. Stubbs!

posted by Exec. Producer Michelle -

How does an alligator survive without a tail?

That was exactly the question at the Phoenix Herpetological Society when a gator without a tail ended up there several years back.  Vets dubbed the little guy Mr. Stubbs and realized really early on that not having a tail was a big problem. 

Phoenix Herpetological Society president Russ Johnson told azfamily.com:

“When we first got him, if the water was too deep for him to touch the bottom, he would roll over onto his back and could not right himself,” 

So, how did Mr. Stubbs survive all this time?  Well, they had to be careful to keep him in areas where the water wasn't too deep to avoid a disaster.

But for the last year, vets and doctors from the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine have been trying to find a solution to Mr. Stubbs' problem.  

And they found one, a prosthetic tail!

But here's the catch, according to Justin Georgi, Ph.D and Asst. Professor of anatomy at the college, it couldn't just be a tail....it had to the PERFECT fit.  

According to azfamily.com:

Georgi worked to determine the appropriate size tail for the alligator. Georgi and others then worked to create a tail that was the right size and weight in order to restore Mr. Stubbs' movement while he walks along with his balance in the water.

And now, Mr. Stubbs is swimming around like a normal alligator!

Check out more about the science behind the prosthetic tail.

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