November 26, 2011
Source: The Hindu
Mysore zoo is trying to simulate the conditions of an Amazon rainforest in a 40 ft X 20 ft area to house the five anacondas, received as gift from Sri Lanka National Zoo in Colombo.
The non-venomous snakes, which can reach up to a length of 30 ft, have been put up for public display in a temporary enclosure that earlier housed pythons.
As the Mysore zoo is the only zoological garden in the country to house the anacondas, the authorities are expecting more visitors in the coming days .
Construction of a permanent enclosure was delayed owing to non-availability of sand followed by the recent sand transporters' strike, and the work has gained pace now.
Sources in the zoo said the enclosure was specially designed to house the creatures, and the civil works were nearing completion.
B.P. Ravi, Conservator of Forests and Zoo Executive Director, toldThe Hinduthat the work on simulating the conditions of an Amazon forest, the habitat of the anacondas, in the new enclosure would begin soon. Natural environmental conditions such as water pond and greenery would be provided to make the snakes feel comfortable and move around freely, he added. “It is tough to recreate the natural conditions of Amazon, but we are making efforts to design and develop the enclosure to suit the needs of the reptiles,” Mr. Ravi said.
As Amazon is hot and humid, proper humidity and temperature (not below 20 degrees Celsius) should be maintained in the enclosure.
Mr. Ravi said some plant varieties were being introduced in the enclosure to generate humidity.
Bulbs to be fixed
The zoo plans to fix high voltage bulbs to maintain temperature. There are two separate enclosures, and two viewing points with glass panelling. “By December-end, the new enclosures will be ready,” he added.
The anacondas are 15 months old and 4 to 5 ft long. The snakes attain monumental size when they are four to five years.
In the wild, the snake can reach up to a length of 30 ft (nine metres) and weigh up to 550 pounds (227 kg).
“In captivity, the snake may grow to to a length of 18 to 20 ft because of restricted physical activity inside the enclosure. We are creating a water pond for their swimming needs. The enclosure will be enriched with tree stumps, plants and other flora to create a condition similar to its habitat,” Mr. Ravi explained.
Their lifespan in the wild is about 10 years, and they can live up to 20 years in captivity.