The owners of a crocodile farm in Queensland, Australia remain puzzled after finding a metal bone plate and six screws in the stomach of one of their saltwater crocodiles.
The 15.4 foot crocodile, called M.J., died recently at approximately 60 years old and the farm found the plate as they performed an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
“Imagine our surprise when we opened up the gut on this large croc and found what looks to be an orthopaedic plate!” wrote Koorana Crocodile Farm in a Facebook post yesterday.
It could have belonged to a person or an animal, the owner and general manager of the farm, John Lever, said in an interview with Win News Central Queensland. The owners have contacted local police to help them solve the mystery.
Lever began working with crocodiles in Papa New Guinea in the 1970s before founding Koorana Crocodile Farm in 1981.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said the crocodile hunter, “and I’d just love to find out where it came from.”
M.J. was not bred but caught wild in Queensland, according to the Facebook post. He lived on another farm first, before being purchased by Koorana. Given MJ’s age, Laver told Win News that he could have eaten the 3.5 inch plate up to 30 to 40 years ago.
This helps answer social media users’ number one question -– if it was a medical device, why was there was no serial number on it? Unfortunately, stomach acid has corroded it away.
Strange and gruesome things have been found in crocodiles’ stomachs before. In 2008, a saltwater crocodile in northern Queensland died having swallowed 25 plastic bags, a plastic wine cooler bag and a rubber float which were found in its stomach in an autopsy. In 2009, the remains of a 5-year-old boy were found in a crocodile’s stomach after the boy had gone missing from near the family property.
Crocodile attacks on humans, however, remain rare according to the Queensland government. You are more likely to die from a lightning strike or bee sting than from a crocodile attack.