Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Columbus Zoo buys popular 24-foot python

The gigantic python that slithered its way into Columbus' heart on a visit last summer is there to stay. The animal, thought to be the world's longest captive snake, will call the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium home permanently. Fluffy's Columbus stint was supposed to last from April through Halloween. Zoo Director Emeritus Jack Hanna had arranged the loan from python breeder Bob Clark in Oklahoma City, who'd raised Fluffy from a hatchling. The 24-foot-long snake with the watermelon-size girth wowed zoo visitors and helped make last year's 1.53 million attendance the second highest on record, Fingerhut said. The biggest year was 2006, with 1.56 million visitors. So when Nov. 1 rolled around, zookeepers weren't happy about packing up Fluffy for her flight back to Oklahoma City. Then, they got a reprieve. The cargo company scheduled to ferry the 300-pound reticulated snake had gone out of business, and Clark was having trouble finding a substitute. In the end, the zoo purchased Fluffy for $35,000. Source: The Columbus Dispatch

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