13 April 2007

Crocodile chews off vet's arm (Graphic photo)

Surgeons in Taiwan have reattached a vet's arm, after it was bitten off by a 200-kilogram Nile crocodile as he tried to give it an anesthetic injection.

After six hours of surgery, Chang Po-yu is said to be doing well and in a stable condition in hospital.

The incident, which was dramatically caught on camera, occurred when Dr Chang failed to notice that the crocodile was not fully anaesthetized when he stuck his arm through an iron rail to medicate it. It was then that the crocodile suddenly turned and bit off his left arm, holding it in its mouth.

As the vet was rushed to hospital, zoo employees tried to retrieve the severed arm by shooting two bullets at the crocodile's neck.

"The crocodile was unharmed, as we didn't find any bullet holes on its hide," zoo official Chen Potsun said.

"It probably was shocked and opened its mouth to let go of the limb."

The 17-year-old reptile is one of a pair of Nile crocodiles kept by the zoo. Known as a man-eater because of its voracious nature, the Nile crocodile is listed as an endangered species, and is rapidly disappearing from its native African habitat.

After his operation, Dr. Chang was seen on television waving and smiling to reporters from his hospital bed.

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