World’s Longest Zoo Snake Dies

Fluffy, a gigantic and gentle reticulated python at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, died last night due to an apparent tumor, the zoo said in a news statement accompanying these photos.

“The eighteen-year-old snake was 24 feet (7.3 meters) long and 300 pounds (136 kilograms) and held the title of longest snake by Guinness World Records,” the zoo added.

R. Python_ G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.jpg

Photo by G. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

“Fluffy came to the Columbus Zoo in March 2007 and drew large crowds when she made her public debut the following month. Originally brought to the Zoo on loan, she was a visitor and staff favorite and the newly opened habitat at the Columbus Zoo became her permanent home,” the zoo said.

Fear and Awe

“When Zoo visitors saw Fluffy they experienced many emotions such as awe, curiosity and even fear,” said Zoo President and CEO Dale Schmidt. “Everyone was moved by her presence and she created the connection for them to learn more, and care more, about misunderstood animals such as snakes.”


Photo courtesy of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Preliminary findings of a necropsy (animal autopsy) performed by The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine revealed the presence of a mass on her ovary.

2009 video of Fluffy by Columbus Zoo and Aquarium 

Reticulated pythons are non-venomous constrictors found in tropical forests in Southeast Asia, the zoo said. “They are the world’s longest snakes, averaging 10-20 feet (3 to 6 meters) in length. The reticulated python skin has a geometric pattern that camouflages the snake protecting it from predators and allowing it to ambush prey. Feeding mostly on small mammals such as rodents, large snakes may consume wild pigs, deer and primates. Reticulated pythons are widespread but they are killed for their skin and numbers are dwindling.”

More zoo news and photos >>

Posted by David Braun from media materials submitted by Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

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Comments (via

From Pawan Kumar Varun:
“Sad ! It was a beautiful one. Will the snake or it’s skin be kept under preservation by the zoo ?”

From Patty Peters, Vice President Community Relations, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium:
Yes, loss is never easy but it seems tougher when it is unexpected.

Fluffy’s skin is being preserved to be used in our education programs. The magnificent specimen will be used to talk about how reticulated pythons, and many other species, are being killed for their skins resulting in a dwindling wild population.  Of course, we may have to show it to students in the hallway since I don’t think any of our classrooms are big enough to accommodate all 24 feet of it!

Changing Planet

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More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn