How to give an albino alligator a CT scan

Getting an alligator to sit still for a CT scan is a challenge, especially when you know he can't be sedated.

Mr. Bones prepped for scan
Mr. Bones gets ready for his scan. St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

Mr. Bones has an arthritis-related jaw condition. He can't open his mouth as fully as an alligator normally can. Lately, he's not even been able to open it as wide as usual. To find out what's up, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida had to take him in for a CT scan.

Mr. Bones is a large albino alligator. You can't exactly sit him down and explain in English why he needs to keep still for his own good to have a successful CT scan. He had to be fully restrained, but without the use of sedatives, since administering drugs can be a risky endeavor with potentially dangerous side effects for alligators.

Mr. Bones was transported to the University of Florida for his scan. It required quite a few industrial-size tie-downs to hold the gator in place on a wood board. He had to be completely strapped down for his expedition into the scanning machine.

As far as alligators go, Mr. Bones seems to display a fairly even temperament. He had previously gone through training to teach him to stop on command while swimming, and also to "shake hands." Just don't try that on your own with any old alligator you come across.

The staff at St. Augustine hopes the CT data will help them diagnose and work to improve Mr. Bones' jaw issue. At least you're not likely to spy Mr. Bones crawling up into the tree tops.

Alligator and CT machine
Mr. Bones is immobilized for the CT scanner. St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

(Via Boing Boing)

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.


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