Europe

Ukraine crocodile sick after eating mobile phone

  • 21 January 2011
  • From the section Europe

Staff at an aquarium in Ukraine are concerned for one of their crocodiles after it ate a mobile phone dropped into its enclosure by a visitor.

The 14-year-old crocodile - known as Gena - has been refusing food since the accident in Dnipropetrovsk last month.

Workers at first did not believe the woman's complaints that her phone had been eaten until it began ringing.

The incident has been compared to the crocodile in Peter Pan, which emitted a "tick-tock" after swallowing a clock.

Visitor Rimma Golovko said she had stretched out her arm trying to snap a photograph of Gena opening his mouth, but the phone slipped.

"This should have been a very dramatic shot, but things didn't work out," she said.

Surgery?

Since the incident, the African crocodile has been refusing food and appears listless.

"He moves very little and swims much less than he used to," a staff member told the Associated Press news agency.

Experts tried to tempt Gena with live quail injected with a laxative, but he still would not eat.

Oleksandr Shushlenko, Dnipropetrovsk's chief veterinarian, said that if Gena continues to refuse food, he will be given an X-ray next week and could face surgery.

However, he said an operation would be a last resort as the procedure is dangerous for the animal and the vets.

"We don't have much experience working with such large animals," he added.

Ms Golovko says she wants her Sim card back as it contains photographs and contacts.