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Last Updated: Thursday September 24 2009 10:44 GMT

Shark has out-of-water operation

Operating on Florence the shark

A shark has undergone what's thought to be the world's first operation on one of the creatures out of water.

Florence the nurse shark had to go under the knife to remove the remains of a rusty fishing hook that was stuck in her mouth and making her ill.

The 1.8m-long shark had to be sprayed with sea water throughout the operation at the Weymouth Sea Life centre to help her keep breathing.

It's thought to be only the second time an operation's been done on a shark.

Florence was one of four tropical nurse sharks which arrived at Weymouth Sea Life Park a few months ago from Florida.

An X-ray of a shark
A scan showed the fish hook in Florence's mouth

At first she settled in well, but after a few weeks she stopped eating and started to look ill.

A scan soon spotted the cause of the problem - the rusty fish hook in the roof of her mouth.

Now she's recovered well enough to join other tropical sharks and green sea turtles at her new home at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham.