Page last updated at 10:19 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 11:19 UK

Seamstress stitches up snake bag

Indian python- picture paignton zoo
Three snakes have been moved in the bag so far

A Devon zoo turned to a local sewing business when it needed to come up with a solution to help move its snakes into their new home.

Staff at Paignton Zoo asked seamstress Maria Cole at Sewing Services of Paignton to make a large cylindrical bag to transport the reptiles.

The metre-diameter bag is made of canvas with a drawstring neck.

Senior reptile keeper Katie Clegg said using a bag, not a box, was the best way to minimise the snakes' stress.

'Most unusual'

"It is safer for the snakes as the darkness helps to calm them," she said.

"A bag is practical for staff as it is easier to close than a box, you have to be quick because the snakes can move very quickly."

So far, three pythons have been moved to the zoo's new Crocodile Swamp, which opens on 3 May.

Another python will join them from Newquay Zoo in Cornwall.

"We moved one snake at a time. The biggest snake weighed 88 kilos - 14 stone - and took four people to lift," said Ms Clegg.

Shirley Carter from Sewing Services said while they had made items such as flags for the zoo before a snake bag was a first for them.

"It's definitely the most unusual item we have ever been asked to make," she said.


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