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Keys animal doc Mader does the crocodile rock with new patient

Dr. Doug Mader, owner of the Marathon Veterinary Hospital in Marathon, volunteers his time and some staff members Friday to help in a procedure to treat an injured 10-foot crocodile at Zoo Miami.
Dr. Doug Mader, owner of the Marathon Veterinary Hospital in Marathon, volunteers his time and some staff members Friday to help in a procedure to treat an injured 10-foot crocodile at Zoo Miami.

Something, probably another cranky crocodile, took a bite out of a nearly 10-foot crocodile at Zoo Miami.

And so the 13-year-old male Orinoco crocodile was whisked from its Amazon and Beyond exhibit at the zoo to an operating table at Zoo Hospital. There, on Friday, a team of zoo staff and veterinarians, led by Dr. Doug Mader, owner of the Marathon Veterinary Hospital in the Florida Keys, treated the infected wound on the reptile’s left-front wrist.

The 396-pound patient was recovering in the hospital and is expected to remain for a few days of healing before returning to its exhibit.

“The crocodile received several X-rays as well as blood tests as part of an overall exam before the affected area was successfully treated surgically by removing the infected material and medicating the wound,” Ron Magill, communications director, said in a release.

Orinoco crocodiles are a critically endangered species found in fresh-water tributaries of the Orinoco River in Colombia and Venezuela, the zoo said. They are the largest predators in South America and can grow to about 15-feet long and usually feast on fish, birds and small mammals — when they aren’t snipping at one another.

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