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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Crocodile severs Taiwan vet's arm
The crocodile holding the severed arm
The crocodile had the vet's arm clamped in its teeth

Surgeons in Taiwan have reattached a vet's arm, after it was bitten off by a crocodile as he tried to give it an anaesthetic injection.

After six hours of surgery, Chang Po-yu is said to be doing well and in a stable condition in hospital.

His attacker is one of a pair of Nile crocodiles kept at Shoushan zoo, in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung.

Nile crocodiles are known to be man-eaters, but are also listed as an endangered species.

New-found fame

The incident, which was dramatically caught on camera, occurred when Mr Chang had his arm through the crocodile's enclosure to administer the anaesthetic.

Believing the animal was successfully anesthetised, Mr Chang tried to remove the syringe, but the crocodile suddenly turned and bit off his left arm, holding it in its mouth.

As the vet was rushed to hospital, zoo employees tried to retrieve the severed arm by shooting two bullets at the crocodile's neck.

Although the bullets failed to penetrate the reptile's hide, the effect was enough to cause it to drop the arm.

"It probably was shocked, and opened its mouth to let go of the limb," zoo official Chen Po-tsun was quoted as saying.

After his operation, Mr Chang was seen on television waving and smiling to reporters from his hospital bed.

According to media reports, his girlfriend and mother seemed more worried than he was, with his friends voicing concern about how soon he would be able to play the piano.

As for the crocodile, it is also doing well. It has found fame as a result of the incident, attracting many visitors to its enclosure.

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