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Nebraska Zoo extracts 70 Coins from white alligator's stomach

An alligator at a US zoo had to undergo surgery after veterinarians discovered 70 coins in the animal's stomach.

The 36-year-old alligator, Thibodaux, had swallowed the coins thrown into his enclosure water at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha.

Thibodaux is leucistic - an extremely rare condition that causes the alligator to have translucent white skin and deep blue eyes. Leucism causes the partial loss of all types of pigmentation, including carotenoids.

Veterinarians at the zoo said they identified "metal foreign objects in the stomach of an iconic resident" during a routine examination of all the 10 alligators at the zoo.

After detecting the objects, the zoo workers acted fast and took him for a veterinary procedure to remove the coins "before they caused any problems".

"With the help of his training, Thibodaux was anesthetised and intubated to allow us to safely manage him during the procedure," associate veterinarian Christina Ploog, said in a statement. "A plastic pipe was placed to protect his mouth and safely pass the tools used to access the coins, such as a camera that helped us guide the retrieval of these objects."

The coins were discovered in X-ray images and a scan after the procedure confirmed that the objects were removed.

Zoo staff said Thibodaux recovered well from the procedure.