Abu Dhabi has a new resident, and she’ll be slithering her way into hearts soon enough. The National Aquarium at Al Qana has just announced that it is now home to Super Snake, a 14-year-old female reticulated python.
Reticulated pythons are the longest snake breeds in the world, regularly reaching more than 6.25 metres long, with the largest yet recorded to be 10 metres (about the size of a school bus). And at seven metres long, Super Snake is one of the largest on display in the world.
It takes 12 people to hold this extraordinary reptile at full length. She weighs a whopping 115 kilograms, enjoys a diet of ducks and rabbits and is an excellent swimmer.
Native to South and South-east Asia, reticulated pythons are non-venomous. They kill their prey by wrappingaround and constricting them. The pythons’ jaws are also connected by very flexible ligaments, allowing them to stretch around large prey and swallow them whole.
There have been reports of people being eaten by reticulated pythons, particularly on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. While a full-grown snake can devour deer as well as humans,their diet usually consists of smaller rodents.
Super Snake’s impressive size is similar to that of reported man-eaters. However, she’s been born in a Los Angeles captive breeding programme and has grown accustomed to human contact during her 14 years as a private specimen.
“While Super Snake is a captive bred animal, we as her caretakers still need to be vigilant and cautious around her,” says Beatriz Maquieira, curator at The National Aquarium. “We can’t wait for the public to meet her and enjoy her slightly quirky personality. We are also excited about having this opportunity to educate our visitors as that is essentially why she is here.”
Super Snake will live at the Flooded Forest Zone along with more than 8,000 rainforest creatures, where visitors will get a chance to view her.
Paul Hamilton, general manager at The National Aquarium believes that the “sheer size and beauty of Super Snake is going to make her the strongest representative of the Flooded Forest collection”.
“Just watching her relax in her lush, tropical inspired habitat is mesmerising. We are certain Super Snake is going to become one the biggest attractions at The National Aquarium Abu Dhabi.”
The National Aquarium is part of Al Qana, a new waterfront destination in the capital. Home to 46,000 creatures and spread across 10 zones, it will be the biggest aquarium in the Middle East and is scheduled to launch towards the last quarter of 2021. The wildlife that live there will be cared for by a team of 80 sea-life experts and specialists.