The reptile, whose survivability in the wild was considered slim, is now being cared for at an Orlando alligator park
An alligator that made headlines — and captured animal lovers' hearts — earlier this month after she was found in Florida with the top half of her jaw missing has found a new home.
The female reptile, whose survivability in the wild was considered slim due to her jaw injury, was taken in by Gatorland, the Orlando-based alligator park announced on its Facebook page Friday.
"Gatorland just received a new alligator from a lake near Sanford," the post read. "This little female gator lost her complete upper jaw from another gator fight or possibly from a boat propeller. She had basically no chance of surviving in the wild with such a severe injury. Here at Gatorland, our dedicated team will give her lots of loving care to live out her life in Alligator Paradise."
The post included a video of Gatorland staff introducing the animal and explaining her story.
"We got a call about this gator a few weeks ago. It hit social media and blew up. We went out there and got him," one employee said as he held the small reptile, who has since been determined to be female.
The employee also shared his theory for how the animal ended up with such a severe injury. "I think he probably years ago got hit by a propeller of a boat," he suggested.
The staff asked for people's help coming up with a name for the alligator and explained what was next for the resilient animal.
"If you look, this injury is from a long time ago. We'll have our vet take a look at it, make sure he's okay. But right now, he's going into quarantine," a second Gatorland staff member said.
Mike Hileman, director of Gatorland, told WINK the alligator has likely subsisted on frogs and snails since injuring her jaw. "That wound that she has has healed over. So she has been able to feed herself without a top jaw for some time now. That's impressive," he said.
Due to her meager food options, the animal is significantly underweight. The park shared in another Facebook post on Saturday that the care team would focus on nourishing the alligator and acclimating her to her new home.
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"We have the most amazing staff of dedicated individuals along with our veterinarian who will be watching over her closely for the next few days, concentrating on getting her to eat in a stress-free environment so that she can enjoy her new forever home here in Alligator Paradise," the Florida park wrote.
The injured alligator was first spotted on Aug. 29 at Wilson's Landing Park in Sanford, Florida. Eustacia Kanter told PEOPLE earlier this month that she took a photo of the reptile, which was then shared on Facebook by Katrina Shadix in hopes of drumming up attention and getting the alligator medical assistance.
At the time, Shadix contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who told her the agency had officers searching for the alligator. The animal was finally rescued on Thursday and brought to Gatorland.
Hileman said the alligator is settling into her new home as her story continues to captivate people. "I mean, she's really getting a lot of attention right now. I hope it doesn't go to her head and become a little diva," he joked. "But right now, she's very good, very down to earth. Very humble at this point."
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