Marine world mourns the loss of Pippa the python

Nick Evans, Leanna Botha and Carl Schloms inspecting Pippa shortly after she arrived at the marine world.

Pippa, the South African rock python which was rescued from a storm-water culvert last mongh, sadly passed away, earlier this week, despite the fact that she was making a slow recovery at the uShaka Village Walk. Pippa was set to be released back into the wild.

Unfortunately, she took a turn for the worse. The sudden and unexpected death has affected the staff at the marine world especially since she had been doing so well since her arrival. Late last month, three metre female python was brought into the Dangerous Creatures Exhibit by local herpetologist, Nick Evans after.

Pippa had been spotted lying motionless for nearly a week in the storm-water culvert by locals. At the time, senior herpetologist, Lesley Labuschagne said, “The python had probably sought refuge in the concrete culvert which, unlike the natural holes in which pythons would seek refuge, remained cold throughout the days and nights that followed. This led to a debilitating drop in her body temperature, stopping her from being able to move back into a warmer environment.”

When she arrived at the rehabilitation facility, she was very cold, dehydrated and unresponsive.  “We immediately placed her in a temperature controlled environment and administered antibiotics and rehydration fluids. Over the next few days, we were able to gradually increase her body temperature and thankfully her condition started improving, ” said Lesley with a note of pride.

For the next three weeks, the python was closely monitored by the herpetologists and animal health team. She started moving about on her own, drinking water and digesting small quantities of food.

It was anticipated that within the next few weeks, she would have been given a clean bill of health by uShaka Sea World veterinarian, Francois Lampen, and handed over to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for release. However, this was sadly not the case. African rock pythons are non-venomous and are the largest snakes in Africa. They are classified as CITES II animals and are on the TOPS (threatened or protected species) list.

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Phoenix Sun

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