CHECK-UP: Dr Morris of Mt Hope Veterinary School of Medicine, foreground, performs a scan on the anaconda to confirm whether it is gravid (pregnant). Assisting him are zookeeper Charleau, second from left, and Saiyaad Ali, member of the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago (ZSTT) board.

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Snake gets ultrasound

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

A medical examination was performed on the 16-foot gravid (pregnant) anaconda being housed at the Emperor Valley Zoo in Port of Spain yesterday.

The 200-pound snake was removed to the zoo after it was found on the roadway in Caroni last Sunday.

Nadra Nathai-Gyan, conservation adviser at the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago, said the snake was examined by a team from Mt Hope Veterinary School.

"A team came in to look at the snake today. An ultrasound was done, but because of the limitation of the enclosure they were unable to get good images. They will come back again in a month to do further examinations."

In the meantime, Nathai-Gyan said, veterinarians at the zoo will continue to observe the snake.

She said the Emperor Valley Zoo was granted permission by the Forestry Division to care for the snake.

"Then a decision will be taken on what happens next. But we need to make sure that the snake is in good health."

Nathai-Gyan said the snake was bruised by the rope which was tightly knotted around its neck to prevent it from escaping.

"We have to ensure that the snake is eating properly and can function properly," she said.

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

Nathai-Gyan said it was uncommon to find an anaconda in Central Trinidad and advised that the Forestry Division do a search for others. She said anacondas have been found in Nariva and Icacos.

The giant anaconda is a large, non-venomous snake found in tropical South America.

It 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.

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