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New Neglected Alligator- Need Advice!

Discussion in 'Crocodilians - General' started by Schwing, Jun 5, 2014.

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  1. Schwing

    Schwing Member

    Hi all,
    Looks like this part of the forum isn't too active, so hopefully I'm able to still get some responses...

    I just recently took in a 25 year-old American alligator that had been kept in a 2' x 3' box his entire life. He was fed a single mouse every 10-14 days, had no source of heat (other than a 40 watt bulb attached to the back of his box with no protection around it), less than an inch of water in a small cat litter box, and no stimulation.

    As a result, he has what appears to be Osteomalacia (rubber jaw), glass teeth, what looks like mouth rot, as well as being horribly stunted and out of proportion. He acts perfectly fine though, and eats great. He's 32" long. We've been feeding him 3-4 large sucker minnows every-other day, and a piece of raw chicken (with the bone) once a month as I heard it was a bit fatty to do more often. For every-other feeding (so every 4 days), we dust the fish with a Multivitamin and sneaking a B-vitamin pill into a fish.

    We also (softly) brush his teeth and mouth area with a baking soda/water mixture once a week for the mouth rot.

    I've been using the advice given to me by Cherie from American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) in Belize. However, I'd like to hear multiple opinions from those of you with experience.

    My questions are: What additional advice do you have for this situation? Should I be doing anything differently? Is that in fact mouth rot, or something else? Do you think he'll grow any more?

    His old home:

    His new home (an 8' x 8' gator-proofed bedroom)



  2. CryHavoc17

    CryHavoc17 Elite Member

    Wow that is so aweful! You are awesome for taking him in, I hope he makes a full recovery for you and has a fantastic life. Its unbelievable how hardy these animals are, its a miracle he survived in those conditions for so long.

    I wish I could offer some better advice but im not a gator guy at all. The only real thing I can think of is to feed him the biggest variety of whole prey items you possibly can. I know the fish are great for them, so are rats, mice, chicks, pretty much anything you can get your hands on.

    Have you found a qualified vet to take him to? They can probably give you some better treatment options for his mouth problems
  3. Schwing

    Schwing Member

    Thank you cryhavoc! None of the vets around us are willing to work with him, but I have brought him into our local herp society club meeting to get some advice. I will definitely be feeding him a good variety of food, as he's not too picky. Just need to find a good site to order multiple types of prey items from...

    Just realized one of the photos is upside down. Sorry, still getting used to the site lol
  4. CourtneyAnn

    CourtneyAnn Elite Member

    On the vet front, maybe you could get in contact with a local zoo and find out who their vet is? Poor little guy.
  5. SavyBeard

    SavyBeard Member

    On a side note did you have to have any special license to own him?
  6. Schwing

    Schwing Member

    Nope, they're legal where I live :) We got lucky, as we live near the border of a state that doesn't allow them period. But if needed, I also have the backing of my local herp society for him and the one I'm fostering.
  7. SavyBeard

    SavyBeard Member

    Wow that's awesome!! That poor gator deserves a good home, keep us posted on his recovery!
  8. EriksExotics

    EriksExotics Elite Member

    wow poor guy... I'm absolutely amazed that he's alive at 25 after being in those conditions!! I have considered owning American Alligators but they're illegal here so maybe if I move and I have a yard big enough to make into an outdoor gator enclosure but unfortunately since they're illegal I haven't put a ton of research into how to keep them let alone how to save such a neglected guy like him... best bet is to find a reptile vet and beg them to see him. Otherwise you may not be able to do anything for him. Keep finding reptile vets in your state and begging them to see him!! as well as doing what another member suggested and asking local zoos which vet they use for their sick gators. Good luck and please keep us posted
  9. Schwing

    Schwing Member

    Just as a quick (and fun) update: We measured him last night, and he has grown 2.5 inches since we got him 3 months ago! Hopefully it's just an initial growth spurt. If he grows too big I don't know what we'll do :p
  10. EriksExotics

    EriksExotics Elite Member

    especially of he's in an "alligator room" getting him out omce he gets bigger will be fun!
  11. trappen

    trappen Elite Member

    Just a quick question... you said 25 year old? Not 2.5 year old? Very small for a 25 year old gator i think. Awesome that they are legal though... I don't think my wife would ever go for a gator in the house or yard, she already has to deal with my wolfdog and snake and fish as it is lol.
  12. EriksExotics

    EriksExotics Elite Member

    He's extremely small for 25 yrs but if I'm correct, it's from being underfed and neglected for so long. very sad
  13. Schwing

    Schwing Member

    Hi guys, yep he's 25 years old. Not 2.5. Poor guy :( Another progression I noticed whilst feeding him live fish the other day: He is able to hold his breath much longer than before. Originally he only ducked his head underwater for a second or two before resurfacing (at his old home he never was able to put his head underwater in the 1" of water that he had). Now he keeps it underwater for a good 20 seconds before coming back up!
  14. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Sounds like he's just now learning how to swim, poor little bugger. Just cant understand how someone could keep one in a setup like that and think it was ok.
  15. TamJam

    TamJam Elite Member

    Whole hearted congratulations and kudos for taking him in and taking such good care of him! Very best of luck to you both and please keep us updated on his progress!:D
  16. LillithTheSpider

    LillithTheSpider Active Member

    That poor baby =( I'm glad he is in a new home now and getting the care and love he deserves. Keep us posted!
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