Powell, OH – Fluffy, a gigantic and gentle reticulated python at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, died last night due to an apparent tumor. The eighteen-year-old snake was 24-feet-long and 300-pounds and held the title of longest snake by Guinness World Records.
Fluffy came to the Columbus Zoo in March 2007 and drew large crowds when she made her public debut the following month. Originally brought to the Zoo on loan, she was a visitor and staff favorite and the newly opened habitat at the Columbus Zoo became her permanent home.
“When Zoo visitors saw Fluffy they experienced many emotions such as awe, curiosity and even fear” stated Zoo President and CEO Dale Schmidt. “Everyone was moved by her presence and she created the connection for them to learn more, and care more, about misunderstood animals such as snakes.”
Preliminary findings of a necropsy (animal autopsy) performed by The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine revealed the presence of a mass on her ovary.
Reticulated pythons are non-venomous constrictors found in tropical forests in Southeast Asia. They are the world’s longest snakes averaging 10-20 feet in length. The reticulated python skin has a geometric pattern that camouflages the snake protecting it from predators and allowing it to ambush prey. Feeding mostly on small mammals such as rodents, large snakes may consume wild pigs, deer and primates. Reticulated pythons are widespread but they are killed for their skin and numbers are dwindling.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is open 363 days of the year. General admission is $12.99 for adults, $7.99 for children ages 2 to 9 and seniors 60+. Children under 2 and Columbus Zoo members are free. The Zoo was named the #1 Zoo in America by USA Travel Guide and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA.) For more information and to purchase advance Zoo admission tickets, visit www.columbuszoo.org.