ORLANDO, Fla. – A Florida reptile park has taken in an alligator that lost its nose and upper jaw to a fight or boat propeller.
Gatorland Orlando said over the weekend that the injured alligator came from a lake in nearby Sanford, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Orlando.
“She had basically no chance of surviving in the wild with such a severe injury,” the park said in a social media post.
Over the next few days, the park's veterinarian staff will be monitoring the gator in an effort to make sure it is eating in a stress-free environment, the park said.
To get the gator to eat, the staff is cutting up small pieces of food that they will toss in the back of its throat, believing it had survived in the wild doing the same thing on its own with snails, slugs and frogs, Kathy Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the park, said in an email.
Gatorland Orlando is home to thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a breeding marsh, an aviary, a nature walk, a petting zoo and educational wildlife programs. It opened in 1949 and is considered one of the few remaining “Old Florida” tourist attractions in central Florida.