Surgical Plate in Croc's Stomach Is 'a Mystery'

Australian croc farm owner hopes to 'solve a cold case'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2019 12:41 PM CDT
He Gutted Croc, Now Hopes to 'Solve Cold Case'
Crocodiles rest at a farm in the Jordan Valley, West Bank on Aug. 6, 2018.   (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)

What was a crocodile doing with a metal plate in its stomach? "It's a mystery" that, if unraveled, might just solve a cold case, according to crocodile keepers in Australia. "Imagine our surprise when we opened up the gut on this large croc and found what looks to be an orthopaedic plate!" the keepers at Queensland's Koorana Crocodile Farm wrote in a Monday Facebook post. They had hoped to learn why the 15-foot-long crocodile named MJ died seven months ago following an altercation with another croc, per Newsweek. They got a tentative answer—a lung infection, per ABC Australia—but now have a host of other questions. Foremost, did MJ dine on a human? "That'd be our desire—if we can help solve a cold case," farm owner John Lever says, per the Guardian. "If we could put some minds at rest, it would be absolutely delightful.”

MJ originally lived in the wild, then was purchased six years ago from another farm, which Lever has contacted in the hope of learning more about 4-inch-long plate. As Koorana's post notes, "No staff and no pets are missing here!" At the same time, Lever has contacted an authority in England in an effort to find the plate's manufacturer. The Guardian reports the old-style plate was made in Switzerland, while Newsweek describes it as possibly from Eastern Europe. The goal is to determine "whether it's one used in the veterinary industry or the medical industry," Lever tells ABC. "Obviously whatever bone he'd taken in that had had the operation performed on it, had been eaten away by the crocodile's stomach juices and just left the stainless steel plate with the six screws in it." According to Lever, the plate could've been in MJ's stomach for up to 50 years. (More strange stuff stories.)

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