She’s longer than an average SUV but won’t be able to travel to her new home without some help.
“Sasha,” a female Reticulated Python, was recently donated to Catoctin Wildlife Preserve by her owner. Now that her medical quarantine and observation period is almost over, keepers are planning to carry from quarantine to her new exhibit on October 2, 2021.
The python was raised by a private owner in Pennsylvania since she was hatched in 2010. A pending move to Texas prompted him to look for a new home for this giant reptile. After a visit and discussion, the owner was convinced the preserve would be a wonderful forever home and staff agreed to accept the constrictor into the collection.
Now over 17 feet long and an estimated weight of 120 pounds, Sasha is surprisingly docile for her species. “Reticulated pythons are typically short-tempered and tricky to work with,” said Chuck Forro, Managing Herpetology Specialist at the Preserve, noting that Sasha’s relaxed nature provides a unique opportunity for this event.
Instead of simply delivering the snake in a crate, staff will hand carry her over a quarter mile through the park. This will allow guests to see her up close, take pictures, and perhaps even assist with the carry. The “Herp Walk” is scheduled to begin at 1:30, just after Alligator Feeding at the nearby ‘Gator Bayou exhibit.
“Sasha will determine exactly what we do that day, but we hope to weigh her, measure length and girth, and get some help with walking her safely to her new home,” Forro added.
John Kinnard, Mayor of Thurmont, has accepted an invitation to attend the event. When asked which part of the python he’d like to hoist, he coyly replied, “I’ll take some pictures.”
Reticulated pythons are native to South and Southeast Asia. They are the longest snakes in the world, with the Guinness Book of World Records listing the longest snake ever captured to be 32 feet long.
During quarantine, staff look for external parasites, screen for internal parasites, watch for congestion or mucus that might indicate a respiratory infection, and assess attitude and disposition. Overly aggressive snakes can be a danger to staff and other exhibit-mates.
Sasha will join a trio of similarly-sized reticulated pythons already residing in the Giant Reptiles Building. All are color morphs, meaning they look different than what a reticulated python normally looks like, but they are not a different species of snake. “Bertha” is a Tiger female, “Beulah” is a Golden Child female and “Evan” is a Lavender Sunfire male.
The Preserve is not actively preventing mating from occurring. However, Forro says, “Breeding them is not a priority.”