If you didn’t think it would be possible to MacGyver a brace for a snake, think again. That’s exactly what happened at an animal hospital in Australia when a green tree python named Toothless had a snacking accident recently.
Toothless had broken part of her jawbone while chowing down on dinner and was rushed by her owners to HerpVet, a hospital specializing in reptile care, for treatment. An x-ray of the python’s jaw revealed a break in the mandible, but the bone was “too small and fragile” to fix with traditional surgery, HerpVet explained in a Facebook post in September.
“Somehow, during the swallowing process, her left lower jaw bone folded and got stuck on her throat,” HerpVet continued on Facebook. “She had recently laid her eggs and this was her first feed post-deposition, which may have weakened her jaw making it more susceptible to fracturing. After delicately dislodging the stuck portion of the jaw, it was still abnormally positioned.”
The veterinarians at HerpVet realigned Toothless’ broken jaw, then fashioned an external brace using a pink paperclip that they affixed to her scales using non-toxic super glue. The makeshift brace had to be reapplied after falling off the next day. “This stayed on until she shed and this was long enough to allow her to heal,” HerpVet wrote in its Facebook post.
Toothless was given a pain reliever and a calcium supplement to help her heal. And here she is, all better, during her final check-up:
“Only a single damaged scale to show anything ever happened,” HerpVet wrote on Facebook, clarifying in the comments that they have to wait and see if the scale heals during her next shedding.
Bob Marsh, Toothless’ owner, was ecstatic over his python’s progress, commenting on HerpVet’s post, “Thank you so much for fixing my Toothless up! She’s feeling much better and constantly begging me for food. She’s gonna have to wait a bit longer!”