A metal plate and six screws are among a host of unusual objects to have been recovered from inside a dead crocodile in Australia.
When MJ, a 4.7 metre-long crocodile, died at Koorana Crocodile Farm in central Queensland, staff cut open his stomach to investigate the cause of his death.
Among a haul of small stones and large rocks, a piece of metal with the appearance of an orthopaedic plate was located, the farm shared to its Facebook page on Tuesday.
“Imagine our surprise when we opened up the gut on this large croc and found what looks to be an orthopaedic plate,” the post read.
“Recently MJ passed away and in order to find a cause of death we opened up his gut to find the plate in amongst numerous stones he used as gastroliths to help grind up food.”
Farm owner John Lever said the find was the “most unusual” thing he’d ever discovered inside one of his animal’s stomachs, ABC News reported.
He said there were no numbers visible on the plate, which he said came complete with six screws.
Mr Lever has embarked on a mission to have the origin of the piece of equipment identified and is currently trying to establish whether its from a human or an animal.
MJ, believed to be about 60 when he died, was acquired by the farm six years ago from another park in Queensland, and before that he was living in the wild.
He was in a fight with another large crocodile, Big Joe, late last year and never recovered to full health.
Mr Lever said there were no missing people or pets at Koorana, so the plate would remain a mystery until its origin could be confirmed.
The plate has been sent to England for testing in order to identify the manufacturer, and Mr Lever has said he will hand it over to police in case they want to run it through tests of their own.
He told ABC News: “I can't see they're going to get anything from this plate if it's been in a crocodile's stomach for six years — that we know of — and probably another six to 20 [years] before that.
"Being subjected to the high-acidic content of a crocodile's stomach, I'm surprised it was in such good order as it was — [it is] good stainless steel that's for sure."