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Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Tropical arrivals make hiss-tory
Albino Burmese Python
Albino Burmese Python - its colouring would make it a target in the jungle

Visitors to Tropical World in Roundhay have some exotic and dangerous new arrivals to wonder over.

The attraction in North Leeds is already home to a wide variety of rare birds and animals.

Now they have taken on eight new snakes, including a rare albino Burmese Python which measures approximately 11 feet long.

The python has been moved to Leeds from Scotland as it had outgrown its previous home.

Together with seven other rare snakes, threatened with extinction, the python will be on public display in the Reptile House at Tropical World.

The female Burmese Python is likely to be the star new attraction due to its sheer size and unusual colouring. One of the largest species of snake in the world, the Burmese Python is native to the rainforests of South-East Asia.

Rare albino Burmese python arrives

Such snakes normally grow on average to be 18ft long and weighs up to 160 pounds, but the heaviest recorded in captivity reached an incredible 27 feet long weighing in at a hefty 403 lbs!

The Tropical World python is currently approximately 11 feet long, but as she is only three years old is still growing. The python is a constrictor which in the wild feeds on mammals and birds, catching and suffocating the prey before swallowing it whole.

The Burmese Python is usually a brown/green and cream colour, but the Tropical World python is an albino as it has no dark pigments in its skin, which in the wild would be a huge disadvantage as it would be unable to camouflage itself and would be an easy target for predators.

The numbers of Burmese Pythons are being reduced in the wild by habitat destruction as well as it being hunted for its skin and meat.

Yellow Anaconda
Yellow Anaconda - a native of South America

The other major new attraction at Tropical World is a four-year-old juvenile male Yellow Anaconda. Currently approximately four-and-a-half feet long, the snake is likely to double in size as on average they reach 8-12 feet when fully grown.

They are found in South America in Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, and like to live close to water so they can submerge themselves before striking out and ambushing their prey, which is mainly mammals and birds, although they will also eat fish, turtles, birds eggs and even small Caiman Crocodiles!

Like the Burmese Python, the Anaconda is a constrictor so suffocates its prey before swallowing it whole, but despite its yellow/green/black/dark brown colouration giving it good camouflage in the wild, it too is under threat due to habitat destruction and being hunted.

The pair have been joined at Tropical World by six smaller new snakes who are also threatened with extinction. The six are all boas and have come from an animal centre in the Cotswolds and consist of two Jamaican Boas, two Cuban Boas and two Dumeril's Boas.

These new arrivals are the first wave of many new animals due to arrive at Tropical World throughout 2010.

Located opposite Roundhay Park, Tropical World is home to the largest collection of tropical plants outside Kew Gardens and also houses birds, butterflies, fish, other reptiles, nocturnal monkeys, bats and the ever-popular meerkats.




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