A female alligator rescued from a cold lake in New York City's Prospect Park had swallowed a 4-inch bathtub stopper, according to animal experts at the Bronx Zoo.
The zoo said the nearly 5-foot-long alligator was rescued from a lake in the park on Feb. 19 and underwent an evaluation by veterinarians at the zoo who found it to be "lethargic and suffering from exposure to cold temperatures" and "extremely emaciated."
The Wildlife Conservation Society published a statement from the zoo that said the alligator weighed about 15 pounds, adding that an alligator of that size should weigh 30-35 pounds.
The female is estimated to be between five and six years old, and the 4-inch-wide drain stopper could be seen in X-ray images toward its lower right abdomen. The zoo said the animal was in too weak a condition to remove the stopper immediately.
They believe that the alligator might have been kept as a pet and then abandoned.
The zoo said in a statement, “The tragedy of this situation is a reminder that wild animals do not make good pets and that responsible pet ownership means making choices that will not negatively impact an individual animal or the environment."