Croc Goes Under the Knife

A crocodile gets run over and someone actually cares

MIAMI -- When a crocodile is in the news down here, it's usually because it has attacked someone's dog, is lurking in a suburban canal, or both. And we all know what happens next: Jaws goes to croc heaven, where there are no crazy humans trying to wrestle it and plenty of snow-colored birds to clean his teeth.

One croc, however, is getting a second chance at swamp life. Or, even better, a nice private pad at Metrozoo. Florida Fish and Wildlife found the big guy (over 10 feet long, 250 pounds) in the Keys, where its head had been run over by a car. His skull and mouth were crushed, which prevented him from being able to eat.

Enter Metrozoo, where the croc was taken and yesterday spent four hours in surgery, during which four steel plates and 41 screws were fastened to his skull. Since crocs have nothing between their skin and jawbone, the plates had to be placed on the outside of his mouth, which has earned him the nickname Robo Croc. Though RC was breathing on his own after the surgery, the prognosis is still pretty grim. "If he survives, it'll be a miracle," said communications manager Ron Magill.

And a shoe-in for Leno.

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