TEMPORARY DISPLAY: Emperor Valley Zoo curator Nirmal Biptah, left, tends to a 16-foot pregnant anaconda in a temporary display in the zoo yesterday. The snake was captured near the Caroni Bridge on Sunday. –Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

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Pregnant snake at Emperor Valley Zoo

By Carolyn Kissoon

The 16-foot anaconda, found on the roadside in Caroni on Sunday, is being cared for at Emperor Valley Zoo in Port of Spain.

Nadra Nathai-Gyan, conservation adviser at the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago, said the gravid (pregnant) snake was receiving medical attention from veterinarians employed at the zoo.

Nathai-Gyan said anacondas were previously found near Nariva Swamp and in Icacos, where several young snakes were discovered near the coastline recently.

"But to find it in Central Trinidad was a significant thing. I think it is worth investigating by the wildlife sector. If I was there I would ensure that we have our boots on and looking to see if there are others in the area," she said.

"For this snake to be gravid, it means she must have a partner. This is an unusual location for an anaconda. I think we should be out looking for more of them."

Nathai-Gyan said the 200-pound anaconda caught on Sunday was the largest to be housed at the zoo.

The snake was discovered slithering across a private roadway near the Caroni cremation site. Security guards at a nearby National Gas Company facility contacted the zoo.

"The security guards restrained the snake and called the zoo and other agencies. It was commendable that they did not kill the snake. We took a team down and rescued the snake," Nathai-Gyan said.

The giant anaconda is a large, non-venomous snake found in tropical South America. An anaconda is an ovoviviparous species, meaning that its embryos develop inside of the eggs, in the mother"s body, until ready to hatch. The females give birth to live young.

Nathai-Gyan said: "The anaconda cannot bite a person to kill. But like any constrictor, the anaconda can squeeze a person until they suffocate."

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