A FOUR-METRE long green Brazilian anaconda at the Python Park in Ulu Bendol, Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan has given birth to 17 baby snakes last month.
The anaconda is native to the tropical rainforests of the Amazon basin and this is the second time this snake species has given birth in captivity at the park.
During a photo call at the park recently, the new arrivals were proudly exhibited by their handlers.
The arrival of the baby anacondas bode well for the park which first opened its doors in 2008 but was forced to close temporarily after numerous setbacks including the loss of some of its snakes to disease.
A green anaconda at the same park gave birth to a litter of 13 snakes three years ago (believed to be the first born in captivity in the country) but all including the mother died due to disease not long after.
After some upgrading works and improvements, the park located at the Ulu Bendol Recreational Forest re-opened last October.
This time around, the Negri Sembilan Forestry Department is doing all it can to ensure the survival of these reptiles and have hired an expert snake handler to manage the park.
“This is really a special event for us. The anaconda is not native to our country and is sure to be a star attraction here. One of the baby anacondas was born blind but we will do all we can to ensure the litter is cared for properly,” he said.
A species of aquatic boa, anacondas can be found in the swamps and rivers of the dense forests of tropical South America.
Like other boas, anacondas give birth to live young.
Although newborn, the slithery baby anacondas at the Python Park were almost half a metre in length each and were already active as Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan learnt when one accidentally ‘bit’ him on the hand during a photo session.
Mohamad, although startled, took the incident in his stride and continued his tour of the park.
He said the park would serve not only as a tourist attraction but also a centre for people to come and study the snakes in a natural setting.
“There are different species of pythons here and even the anaconda which is a rare find in this part of the world.
“The park offers people the chance to come and see these reptiles and learn more about them.
“We set up the park to collect and exhibit threatened species and to give people the opportunity to study these snakes in a natural setting,” he said after visiting the anaconda enclosure.
Mohamad also refuted claims by Opposition members who said stray anacondas had escaped into the nearby forest and were a threat to villagers.
“The anaconda that were here before all died due to disease. There is no truth to claims that there are anacondas lurking around the forest,” he said.
Roslan said the park also recently acquired the largest batik python in the country which weighs 90kg and is 6m long.
There are 43 snakes of 11 different species at the park including the green anaconda, Burmese and blood pythons.
Visitors can enjoy snake shows at the park on the last weekend of the month for free.