Thursday, 17 Jun 2021

'Overweight' alligator with 'terrible arthritis' manages to escape zoo

An alligator that was deemed ‘overweight’, ‘unathletic’ and with ‘terrible arthritis’ managed to escape a zoo, baffling the owner. 

Rex the gator went missing from Doc’s Zoo at Doc’s Harley-Davidson in Bonduel, Wisconsin, on Saturday morning. What baffled owner Steve ‘Doc’ Hopkins was that Rex was the only one of four animals in the outdoor pen that broke loose. 

‘We came out to feed the gators today and one of them was missing,’ Hopkins told WLUK. ‘There was no sign of the enclosure being breached in any way or the gator digging underneath or anything. It’s just very strange. This has never happened before.’

Hopkins added that ‘the old gator is very unathletic and quite overweight’.

Rex could ‘barely open his jaws’ and ‘has terrible arthritis in his jaws’.

‘If he can open up his jaw an inch and a half, it’s a lot,’ Hopkins said. ‘The most he could do is probably slap you with his tail and that is only if you get close and upset him.’

Hopkins could come up with no logical explanation. 

‘The only thing I can think is maybe he was pumping iron all during Covid or something and planned his escape,’ the zoo owner said. ‘I don’t know.’

Hopkins in a joyful Facebook post on Monday shared that Rex was ‘home safe’.

Rex was found by Hopkins’ son Steve in the swampy wooded area on complex.

‘What an adventure he must’ve had,’ Hopkins wrote. ‘Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all that helped in our search efforts.’

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