Thursday, 24 July 2014

Giant python gets a health check

23 July 2014 Last updated at 09:35

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

A team at Chester Zoo gave an enormous reticulated python its annual check-up on Tuesday - including using ultrasound to scan its heart.

Reticulated pythons are the longest snake species in the world.

So it took a team of eight handlers to hold the snake in order that it could be examined.

The huge reptile, named JF, is thought to be one of the biggest snakes in Europe - at 7m (23 feet) long, and weighing approximately 60kgs.

As well as ensuring the snake is healthy, the check-up was part of a cardiological research study.

This is a joint research programme between the zoo and Cardiff Metropolitan University; the hope is that looking at JF will provide insight into problems with the human heart.

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