Anaconda 'mum' found dead in enclosure

Norhizam (left) planting a host plant for butterfly conservation at Melaka Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary during his visit on Friday.

MELAKA: Jasmine, the anaconda that recently gave birth to 14 neolates (baby snakes that are born live) of which five are still alive, has died.

Melaka Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary managing director Gerard Wong Woon See said Jasmine was found lifeless at her enclosure at the sanctuary in Ayer Keroh here Thursday (Aug 20).

"Anacondas do not feed for the entire gestational period, which is about seven months, and they have a high risk of dying after giving birth.

"We will carry out an autopsy to determine the actual cause of death,"he said after a visit by Melaka Agriculture, Agro-based, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Committee chairman Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee to the sanctuary on Friday (Aug 21).

Norhizam also got a preview of the five neolates during his visit.

The green anaconda (Eunectus murinus), arguably the largest snake in the world, was successfully bred at the sanctuary.

Jasmine, a 4.8m long anaconda, was imported to the sanctuary in May 2015 after obtaining approval from the government.

She gave birth on Aug 12 with nine of the neolates fully-developed stillborn (dead).

The anaconda is ovoviviparous and retains their eggs until they hatch and give birth to live young ones.

Mature females can reach up to 9.7m in length and weigh up to 200kg, while the males are much smaller.

Meanwhile, Norhizam said he will be helping the sanctuary to apply for research grants and other forms of funding.

"I will look into applying for federal funds to assist the sanctuary to continue doing research on exotic plants, reptiles and insects.

"I am impressed with the effort made by the sanctuary in conserving near-extinct species," he added.

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