It is that time of year again for the Australian Reptile Park’s largest snake, Jockey, the Burmese python, to have his annual weigh-in and health check. However, to up the ante, the Keepers at the award-winning wildlife park decided to instead bring out all three of the biggest snakes in their collection to see whether Jockey would remain the victor in the ‘battle of the giants’.
Keepers took on the challenging task of bringing out their Burmese python, Reticulated python and green Anaconda to the Main Park area to conduct a routine health check. With snakes of this size, not only is it an ‘all hands-on deck’ situation that requires multiple Keepers to handle each snake one at a time, but it can also be life-threatening if either of the snakes wraps one coil around the limb of a keeper.
With experienced keepers on hand, the weigh-in and health check of all three pythons was a success. The results were great indicators of their overall health, with Jockey the Burmese python maintaining his title of the heaviest snake with an incredible weight of 50 kg, and a length of 3.17 metres! The Anaconda, fittingly named Nicki Minaj, trailed closely behind with a weight of 49kg, however was longer in length, measuring in at 3.53 metres. Coming in last, their stunning Reticulated python named Cupcake, weighed in at 45kg, but measured the longest out of the three, at a whopping 4.88 metres!
“We couldn’t believe how close all three snakes were in weight and length and that Jockey was the heaviest and Cupcake was the longest,” said Jake Meney, Head of Reptiles. “Either way, the team are really happy with the results from the health check. These beautiful pythons have all grown nicely in weight and size and that’s a great indication that they are in good health.”
Mr Meney affirmed that “weighing our giant snakes is essential as it’s the first indicator of her overall health. Reptiles are unlike mammals and show very little sign of sickness, so it’s crucial we keep track of their length and weight. Especially with Cupcake being a juvenile, she has so much growing to do and eventually she will become the biggest snake out of the three, so keeping track of her weight and length is important.”
Mr Meney goes on to explain that “whilst getting this trio out of their exhibits is no easy task, it’s so much fun to get them all out together for everyone to see – it truly was the battle of the giants! Plus, it never gets old seeing the shock on visitors faces when they see just how incredibly large these guys are.”
The Australian Reptile Park is home to a vast array of native and exotic reptiles, including snakes, crocodiles, lizards, and turtles. Visitors can learn about these amazing creatures through their Behind the Scenes tour, or if they’re brave enough, they can get up close and personal with the massive Burmese Python during a memorable Photo Experience.