WARNING: If you click HERE , you will see a picture of a crocodile with an arm in its mouth!
Surgeons reattached a Taiwanese veterinarian's forearm today after a 200-kilogram Nile crocodile chomped it off and colleagues recovered the limb from the reptile's mouth.
The male crocodile severed Chang Po-yu's forearm at the Shaoshan Zoo in the southern city of Kaohsiung yesterday when the veterinarian tried to retrieve a tranquiliser dart from the reptile's hide so he could give it medication, zoo officials said.
The forearm was reattached following seven hours of surgery today.
The Liberty Times newspaper said Chang failed to notice that the crocodile was not fully anaesthetised when he stuck his arm through an iron rail to medicate it.
As Chang was rushed to the hospital yesterday, a zoo worker shot two bullets at the crocodile's neck to retrieve the forearm, Chen Po-tsun, a zoo official, said.
"The crocodile was unharmed as we didn't find any bullet holes on its hide," Chen said. "It probably was shocked and opened its mouth to let go of the limb."
The 17-year-old reptile is one of a pair of Nile crocodiles kept by the zoo.
Known as a man-eater because of its voracious nature, the crocodile is listed as an endangered species, and is rapidly disappearing from its native African habitat.
Chen said the zoo bought the crocodile 10 years ago from a local resident who had kept it as a pet.