A surgical plate found in 15-foot crocodile’s stomach

A surgical plate with six stainless steel screws was found inside M.J., a 4.7-meter crocodile. Photograph: Koorana Crocodile Farm

(CNN) – The owner of an Australian crocodile farm was shocked to find a surgical plate in the stomach of a 4.7-meter (15-foot) reptile.

In late June, the saltwater crocodile, named M.J., died at the Koorana Crocodile Farm near Rockhampton, Queensland, in the country’s northeast.

Inside the gut of the crocodile, the orthopedic plate was discovered, along with various stones used to help grind up food, during an examination into its death.

The metal plate among rocks M.J. swallowed to help grind up his food. Photograph: Koorana Crocodile Farm

“Strange things turn up in crocodile stomachs all the time,” farm owner John Lever told CNN affiliate 7 News. “But finding a surgical plate in there, well, we never thought we’d find that.”

Lever was uncertain whether the plate came from a human or animal.

“The crocodile, it’s eaten something with a plate in it so it’s either a human or a pet — and I presume with a plate that size it would be a dog,” he said.

M.J. the crocodile, was up to 70 years old and had lived at the farm for six years. The animal was purchased from a nearby farm that caught it in the wild.

Lever told 7 News that an investigation revealed the plate was produced in Switzerland.

“It’s probably been in the crocodile’s stomach for decades,” he added.

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