330 Good Luck Coins Found In Zoo Alligators Belly

Story By: John Feng, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Asia Wire Report

These images show over 330 coins that were found in the stomach of a zoo alligator after tourists tossed them into its enclosure for good luck.

The money is believed to have been tossed into the alligator’s enclosure by tourists who treated its pond like a wishing well for 30 years.

The shocking discovery was announced this week by the head veterinarian of Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya, which is the capital of Japan’s central Aichi Prefecture.

Pictures Credit: AsiaWire / Higashiyama Zoo

The indigestible metal objects comprising mostly 5- and 10-JPY (4 and 8 p) coins were found during a recent necropsy of the zoo’s beloved male American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) Mippy.

Mippy died on 20th May at the ripe old age of 54 after having arrived at the zoo as a hatchling on 11th July 1965.

Zoo veterinarian Mr Tamamura said the coins were found among numerous pebbles, which alligators purposely swallow in order to aid digestion.

Pictures Credit: AsiaWire / Higashiyama Zoo

In his report, the vet said it was likely the coins were accidentally eaten together with the sunken stones at the bottom of its pond.

According to reports, Mippy enclosure was walled off by a large glass screen for the first 20 years of its captive life.

That changed in 1989 when an elevated walkway was built above its pond, allowing visitors to observe and throw coins in for good luck, despite a sign advising zoo-goers against the behaviour.

Though Mr Tamamura’s reports said that the coins did not appear to cause any organ damage to the reptile – and that its death was not likely to have been linked to the money – he and the zoo have nonetheless asked members of the public to stop the practice.

A press release by the Higashiyama Zoo on the day of Mippy’s death stated that the alligator had grown to 3.2 metres (10 feet 6 inches).

It weighed 88 kilogrammes (194 lb), 2.6 kilogrammes (5 lb) of which, it later turned out, were coins.

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John Feng

I am a senior journalist and editor, and have worked for a number of different news agencies over the last decade. I am currently editor-in-chief of the Asia Wire Report news wire.

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