Dr. Brenda Bush was just
heading out the door of Island Veterinary Services after 5pm Thursday when
Department of Environment officers brought in a critical patient.
A small salt-water
crocodile with a massive hook wedged deep into its throat.
Dr. Brenda, Dr. Andreea
Sleahtenea, DoE Enforcement Officer Mark Orr, and DoE ecologist Mat Cottam spent
the next three hours trying to save the 38 lb. croc’s life.
“We do wildlife rescues,
we tend to any sick or injured wildlife,” Mrs. Bush said Friday. “Iguana,
parrot, whatever it is, they tend to work their way in here.”
“But crocodiles, you
don’t see everyday.”
Actually, Dr. Brenda has
seen one before, in 2007, when a saltwater crocodile was shot with a spear gun
in North Side. That somewhat larger creature later became a permanent resident
at the Cayman Turtle Farm.
This little one was found
in the back of the Sunrise Landing development in Newlands late Thursday
afternoon. Mrs. Bush said it appeared someone had been trying to catch it. The
was a huge metal hook – the size of a human hand – in the croc’s throat.
Mrs. Bush said it
appeared someone had been trying to catch the animal by sticking a piece of
chicken on the end of the hook.
“(The hook) was past the
mouth and into the middle of the throat,” she said during an interview on
So, anybody want to stick
their arm in the crocodile’s jaws and pull it out?
According to Mrs. Bush,
that wasn’t possible anyway. The hook was wedged too far in and surgery was
“We gave the croc an
injection for sedation, it made it sleepy enough to hook her up to gas
anaesthesia…so that we could get in there and work safely,” she said.
That’s not as easy as it
sounds. Anaesthesia used improperly could kill a crocodile. They had to work
Since the hook was buried
so deep, the vets had to flip the croc over and open up its oesophagus. Another
incision was needed under its left arm where the hook point had penetrated the
“We actually had to go in
with box cutters and snap the hook in two,” Mrs. Bush said. “It was a huge
After the hook was cut,
the rope and the part of the hook still attached to it were drawn out through
the croc’s mouth. The rest of the hook went through the incision that was made
next to its arm.
“We sewed up the
incisions and gave it some antibiotics, and was found it was alert and strong,”
Mrs. Bush said. “It was released back to the DoE (Thursday) night).”
Department of Environment
Officials said the little crocodile was released into the Central Wetlands of
Grand Cayman late Thursday night.
Dr. Brenda said she
realises many people in the Cayman Islands view
saltwater crocodiles as a danger, but she believes they are a part of the
natural environmental and should be protected.
“You can get yourself all
worked up over the danger, but for me…I think we need to respect that.”