UNDATED (CNN) -- His name is Mister Stubbs. He's an alligator whose tail was bitten off eight years ago. Some big-hearted researchers are trying to make his life a little easier with a first-of-its kind replacement tail!
The video shows a first look at history in the making. The slight movement you see is an alligator learning to use his prosthetic tail.
Named Mr. Stubbs, he was confiscated here in Arizona. Just simply owning a gator in the state is illegal. Stubbs has lived most of his life tail-less. He learned to swim by doggie paddling at the phoenix herpetological society. Then science stepped in with an idea: build him a tail. Scott Craven says, "And so it was just the process of figuring out how to make a mold and then getting a mold and playing with the material, I made some little models and stuff and figured out that it was going to be pretty good for the full tail."
Craven, of the Arizona Republic, knows that's modesty simplifying it. Scott was there witnessing Mr. Stubbs' historical swim. He says, "Everybody there has no idea anybody else has ever done this, and it actually took the molding of a tail from an alligator cadaver of roughly the same size of Mr. Stubbs, once they took the mold of that tail, they then dissected the tail to determine it's mass, center of gravity, so science went into this as well, it's not as if they poured rubber, stuck a trail on this guy and let him swim."
The orange floatie is an aid for Mr. Stubbs until he gets used to his new tail. They say it could take another six months before he fully adjusts. Russ Johnson with the Phoenix Herpetological Society says, "If we get him just to relax a little bit, where he's confident in it, because memory is there, when he was a baby and also instinctively, it's there, it's just he's been without it so long, he has to adjust to this."