Fang-tastic job! Zookeepers wrestle 20-ft man-eating python for her annual weigh-in (and she’s not very happy about it!)

January 10, 2014 | by | 1 Comment

This is the moment a team of gutsy zookeepers got their hands on a 21-FOOT ‘man eating’ python for its annual weigh-in.

Atomic Betty is an enormous reticulated python and is known for her aggressive nature.

While not venomous, Betty has razor sharp teeth and kills by wrapping her thick, muscular body around prey and suffocating it.

Zookeepers at the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, New South Wales, wrestle with Atomic Betty, the 20ft python, for her annual weigh-in

Zookeepers at the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, New South Wales, wrestle with Atomic Betty, the 20ft python, for her annual weigh-in

And staff at the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, New South Wales, yesterday had the unenvious task of catching the angry specimen for her yearly health check.

The 6.5-metre long python tipped the scales at 308lb – meaning she weighs the same as an adult Sumatran tiger.

Atomic Betty is now 15 years old with reticulated pythons expected to live up to 30 years in captivity. She eats around four times a year, with the zoo feeding her a goat weighing up to 25kg.

In the wild, her life span would be shorter, but she species could grow to a staggering 28-feet. The reticulated python is the only snake considered a true man-eater.

The python is known for her aggressive nature, and in the wild she suffocates her prey by wrapping herself round them

The python is known for her aggressive nature, and in the wild she suffocates her prey by wrapping herself round them

The zookeepers struggle to contain the reptile as she rises up ready to pounce

The zookeepers struggle to contain the reptile as she rises up ready to pounce

 

Tim Faulkner, general manager at the zoo, said: “She is a difficult character. She doesn’t like to be caught, and she’s an aggressive girl, so our Keepers need to take extreme care.

“Weighing Atomic Betty is essential as it’s the first indicator of her overall health. Reptiles are unlike mammals and show very little sign of sickness.

“Mammals become vocal or stop eating which makes illness easier to detect. Reptiles don’t show these obvious signs.”

Atomic Betty’s weight had increased by 1kg on the previous year, with Mr Faulkner saying the zoo was “really happy with the result”.

He added: “We’re not trying to grow Betty, just maintain her weight which is healthy right now, so it shows us she’s in great shape.”

Reticulated pythons, which are native to Southeast Asia, are the world’s longest snakes.

They are ambush predators, taking their victim by surprise and holding with sharp teeth and a strong jar.

Their teeth are serrated and backward facing, which means once they’re attached to the flesh of their victim, the razor sharp teeth won’t come out.

The snake then constricts the air out of its prey, causing death by suffocation or burst blood vessels.

After eating the victim whole, it may not need to eat again for weeks or even months.

Category: Pictures

Comments (1)

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  1. Noel Sadler says:

    If you would like a video link to this story
    Weigh in Atomic Betty 6.5 metre reticulated python Australian Reptile Park
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQSDdLxj7S4&feature=share&list=UU4H-4tOaLam7VQ98liuPTcw

    I filmed all vision and post production, I am always on the looks out to film freelance stories, I live on the Central Coast of NSW
    Regards

    Noel Sadler
    Skip Film Productions

    Sydney Australia
    Mobile: 0488 201 882
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