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It takes six keepers to carry Atomic Betty. She weighed in at 306 pounds.
Atomic Betty, a reticulated python (Python reticulatus
) that was imported to Australia from the United States in 2001 had her annual weigh-in and check-up January 9 at the Australian Reptile Park where she is kept. Her weight? 139 kilograms or 306 pounds. The Australian
reports it took six zoo keepers to catch and restrain the snake in its enclosure before she was carried outside and weighed. After the six keepers got a handle on her, they all stepped on individual scales to weigh the 14-year- old reptile. Tim Faulkner, the park's operations manager said the annual weigh-in is the only time in which the physical condition of the snake can be checked, and this year, the snake weighed two kilograms more than last year. Atomic Betty is fed three to four 55 pound goats a year.
"She's a difficult teenager," Mr. Faulkner told The Australian. "She doesn't like to be caught and she's an aggressive girl so our keepers need to take extreme care.”Weighing Atomic Betty is essential as it's the first indicator of her overall health. Reptiles are unlike mammals and show very little signs of sickness,' he said.
While the reptile park houses 16-foot crocodiles as well some of the most venomous snakes in the world, including the inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) and the eastern brown snake (Pseudonaja textilis), the keepers at the park consider Atomic Betty the most dangerous reptile in the collection.
"She's 139kg of muscle and a mouth full of teeth like fish hooks and they're backwards facing so if she grabs onto you she'll never let go," Faulkner said. ”She's a constrictor and if she gets a coil on one of us we'd be able to get her off but in the time it takes to do that she will have busted a couple of ribs and maybe punctured a lung," he said.
The reticulated python is native to Southeast Asia and is considered to be the world's largest snake, capable of growing to more than 30 feet in length and weighing up to 350 pounds. Average adult sizes of the mainland retics are 10 to 20 feet long. In the pet trade, the reticulated python is also available as a "dwarf" variety that maxes out around 10 to 12 feet, and a super dwarf variety that averages 6 to 8 feet in length.
Watch a Quick-Care video of the reticulated python here.