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Abilene Zoo schedules medical examination for Albert the Alligator

Zoo Veterinary and Animal Care teams will examine the alligator because of its prolonged lethargic activity and lack of appetite.
Credit: Abilene Zoo

ABILENE, Texas — The Veterinary and Animal Care teams at the Abilene Zoo have scheduled a medical examination for Albert the Alligator in the coming week.

According to an Abilene Zoo press release, the alligator has been a resident of Abilene Zoo since 1966. 

The care teams scheduled the medical examination because of the alligator's prolonged lethargic activity and lack of appetite. 

During the exam, the teams will draw blood and perform a variety of medical tests.

“It is normal for reptiles to stop eating for a few days, even up to a week, but Albert has continued to display unusual behaviors for a prolonged period,'' Tony Baez, Animal Care Supervisor and reptile specialist, said. “What we have to decipher is if there is something wrong or if this behavior is due to Albert's advanced age.”

During daily welfare checks, zookeepers notice a change in Albert's balance when standing on solid ground, as well as a decrease in appetite and unusual eating habits. 

“Restraining an alligator for a husbandry procedure can be potentially stressful on the animal. It is potentially dangerous for the staff as well, so it’s important that we develop a plan that’s safe for everyone, especially our animals,” Baez said. “Precautions such as covering the alligator’s eyes, wrapping their jaw, and getting their feet up off the ground are just a few of the steps we will take to ensure Albert’s stress levels stay as low as possible.”

According to Dr. Stephanie Carle, zoo veterinarian, a large team of experts will be present to help care for the alligator during the exam. Blood samples will be collected for various tests and x-rays will be taken. 

“It might take a couple of days to get complete results, and sometimes with reptile medicine, blood work does not tell us very much," Dr. Crale said. "Albert is a very special zoo resident. We are hoping that his recent change in behavior is due to the strange Abilene weather this year; however, given his age, we are concerned.”

Albert is one of the oldest living American Alligators in zoos across the country, according to the release. 

The alligator's past is unknown and has spurred many West Texas tall tales of his origination at the Abilene Zoo.

Albert the Alligator is estimated to be approximately 65 and is loved by t community.

Well-wishes can be shared with favorite photos and videos on the Abilene Zoo social media pages.