The 10.5-foot, 341-pound Nile crocodile, named Anuket, is back home at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.
University of Florida veterinarians surgically removed a shoe swallowed twice by the same hungry crocodile, the school said.
The 10.5-foot, 341-pound Nile crocodile, named Anuket, consumed the apparently tasty footwear in December when it fell off a zip liner at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, where the reptile resides, according the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville.
Witnesses spotted Anuket consuming the shoe, regurgitating it and then swallowing it again, the college said.
“If the shoe fits your fancy …. swallow it?” the school said in a Facebook posting. “Not a good idea!”
The size 6.5 Walmart women’s sneaker was made of synthetic materials, meaning it couldn’t have been digested and would have stayed inside Anuket and blocked passage from the stomach to intestines, according to Gen Anderson, general curator at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.
“If it was leather sandals, then it would have been a whole other ballgame,” Anderson told NBC News on Tuesday.
Without surgery, the crocodile would have suffered “a very slow death,” she added.
After Anuket was brought to the University of Florida on Feb. 5, vets tried various less invasive methods to push the shoe out of the beast, with no luck.
They were eventually forced to perform “a gastrotomy which allowed easier access to the crocodile’s stomach,” according to the school.
“Within a short time, he was able to remove the shoe,” the school said. “After an overnight stay, Anuket returned home, and has been recuperating at the park since then.”
Anuket is at least 34 years old and is expected to live between 60 and 80 years, according to Anderson.