United States

70 Coins Extracted From White Alligator’s Stomach In Nebraska Zoo

A highly unusual 36-year-old leucistic alligator, distinguished by its transparent white skin and striking blue eyes, underwent a widely publicized surgical procedure.


@Omahas Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium/Facebook
Thibodaux, a rare white alligator that swallowed 70 coins. Photo: @Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium/Facebook

A 36-year-old leucistic alligator, a rare specimen known for its transparent white skin and blue eyes, recently underwent surgery after veterinarians discovered a staggering 70 coins in its stomach, according to BBC reports.

Thibodaux, one of the 10 American alligators housed at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Nebraska, became the focus of a publicized surgical intervention aimed at removing the coins to prevent potential health issues. The procedure also served as an educational opportunity for zoo visitors, illustrating the harmful impact of tossing coins into aquatic environments.

During the highly visible surgery conducted within the Desert Dome, spectators captured images as veterinary professionals carefully extracted the coins from the alligator's stomach.


Following the successful removal of the coins, zoo officials issued a reminder to guests, urging them to refrain from throwing coins into any water bodies within the zoo premises.

Associate veterinarian Christina Ploog, who led the operation, explained that Thibodaux was safely anesthetized and intubated to facilitate the procedure. Protective measures were implemented, including the insertion of a plastic pipe to shield the alligator's mouth and aid in the retrieval process using specialized tools and cameras.

Zoo officials confirmed that Thibodaux recuperated well post-surgery, with X-ray imaging confirming the successful extraction of the coins.

Taylor Yaw, the zoo's head of animal health, emphasized the rarity of such procedures, underscoring the importance of raising awareness about the dangers posed by coins and other foreign objects to animals.


In an interview with local media, Ploog highlighted the potential hazards associated with ingesting coins, citing the presence of harmful substances. Responding to inquiries about the fate of the coins, the zoo assured concerned individuals that routine habitat cleanings are conducted, but some coins may still be ingested by the alligators before removal.