OKC Zoo Announces Death of American Alligator, Bob

Bob, credit Lena Kofeod

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is sad to report the passing of 41-year-old male American alligator, Bob.

Bob was a long-time guest-favorite at the Zoo, his home since 1978. He came to the Zoo from Tulsa Zoo when he was only about six weeks old.  

During their morning head-checks on Friday, May 8, caretakers discovered Bob had passed overnight. A necropsy (animal autopsy) found a significant granuloma in Bob’s right lung that likely resulted from an long-term infection.

In reptiles, infections progress very slowly and their bodies are experts at walling off damaged areas. It’s likely Bob’s infection travelled from his lung to other areas of his body, seeding infections that were insurmountable. Bob demonstrated no symptoms or diminished appetite leading up to his death.

National Geographic reports that the average lifespan of American alligators is 35 to 50 years.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that American alligators are a species of least concern, meaning they are not immediate danger of being vulnerable to extinction. Their natural habitat includes much of Southern America, including parts of Southeastern Oklahoma. Their population trend is increasing with 750,000 to 1 million+ currently estimated in the wild.

The Zoo’s Oklahoma Trails habitat is home to female American Alligator, BG. Although her exact age is unknown, it's estimated to be between 25 and 35. 

-Brad Lock, Curator of Herpetology and Aquatics

Photo Credit: Lena Kofeod

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