Animals

Scheduled Examination for Iconic Abilene Zoo Alligator

Posted: June 5, 2021 | 7:33 am

Press Release

 

Abilene, TX-  Albert the Alligator, a resident of the Abilene Zoo since 1966, is scheduled for a medical examination due to prolonged lethargic activity and inappetence.  The Veterinary and Animal Care teams will examine Albert early next week, where they will draw blood and perform a variety of medical tests. 

“It is normal for reptiles to stop eating for a few days, even up to a week, but Albert has continued to display unusual behaviors for a prolonged period,” explained Animal Care Supervisor and reptile specialist Tony Baez. “What we have to decipher is if there is something wrong or if this behavior is due to Albert’s advanced age.” 

so it’s important that we develop a plan that’s safe for everyone, especially our animals,” stated Baez.

Zookeepers noticed a change in Albert’s balance when standing on solid ground along with a decrease in appetite and unusual eating habits during the daily welfare checks of the alligator. 

“Restraining an alligator for a husbandry procedure can be potentially stressful on the animal. It is potentially dangerous for the staff as well, so it’s important that we develop a plan that’s safe for everyone, especially our animals,” stated Baez. “Precautions such as covering the alligator’s eyes, wrapping their jaw, and getting their feet up off the ground are just a few of the steps we will take to ensure Albert’s stress levels stay as low as possible.”

Albert is one of the oldest living American Alligators in zoos across the country. His exact past is unknown and has spurred many West Texas tall tales of his origination to the Abilene Zoo.

“We will have a large team of experts present to help care for Albert during his physical exam. We plan to collect blood samples for various tests, perform X-rays, and look Albert over really well,” said Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Carle. “It might take a couple of days to get complete results, and sometimes with reptile medicine, blood work does not tell us very much.   Albert is a very special zoo resident. We are hoping that his recent change in behavior is due to the strange Abilene weather this year; however, given his age, we are concerned.” 

Albert is one of the oldest living American Alligators in zoos across the country. His exact past is unknown and has spurred many West Texas tall tales of his origination to the Abilene Zoo. Estimated to be about 65 years old, Albert is a geriatric alligator beloved by the community. Well wishes can be shared with your favorite pictures and video on the Abilene Zoo social media pages as the community rallies for Albert to get well soon. 

About Abilene Zoo 

Abilene Zoo was founded in 1966 as a collaborative partnership between the City of Abilene and the Abilene Zoological Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving wildlife and protecting wild places. Through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, the Abilene Zoo’s mission is a place of learning and adventure where people make memories, share in the joy of discovery, and become inspired to save wildlife. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums since 1985, this West Texas Zoo sees 129 school districts from over 51 Texas counties in addition to over a quarter of a million guests each year. To learn more, visit abilenezoo.org

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Please contact the Abilene Zoo at zoomediarequests@abilenetx.gov with any questions.