CNN reports from Oklahoma City Zoo, where after a recent alligator died, zoo workers were shocked to find seven plastic bottles that had been ingested by the gator blocking its stomach.
Jennifer D'Agostino, the zoo's director of veterinary services, tells CNN that the animal wasn't able to properly digest its food as a result, which led to an infection that spread throughout the body.
The tragic event spurred zoo employees to investigate the contents of other alligators' stomachs, leading to the discovery of more garbage, including water bottles, bottle caps, a rubber toy alligator, and even a shoe.
Unfortunately, the problem afflicts more than just the gators, as seals have also been known to suffer injuries at the same zoo after swallowing coins thrown into the water, which the marine animals mistake for fish due to their glimmering appearance.
While the zoo is looking into installing nets beneath the guard rails, they ultimately hope that visitors will be more cautious with their garbage.