A female alligator rescued from a cold lake in New York City's Prospect Park had swallowed a four inch bathtub stopper according to animal experts at the Bronx Zoo.
The zoo said the nearly five-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 zoo's "Wildlife Conservation Society" (WCS) said the alligator weighed about 15 pounds, adding that an alligator of that size should weight between 30-35 pounds.
The female is estimated to be between five and six-years-old, and the four-in wide drain stopper for a bathtub 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 and believe that the female alligator might have possibly 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."