This week, the New England Aquarium pulled the anacondas from one of its Amazon exhibits for their annual physical exams. The largest of them measured in at 14 feet, the other two measured 12 feet 7 inches and 12 feet 4 inches in length. Wilson is the smallest of the group. She weighs only 55 pounds while her tank mates Marion and Kathleen are a more robust 77 and 90 pounds each.
So what is a done during an anaconda physical? Many of the same things that are conducted in a thorough exam for people with some slight variations:
- Length versus height
- Vital Signs: Resting pulse for an adult anaconda is 32 versus 72 for people. Respirations are just a reptilian 3 per minute versus 12–20 breaths for humans because of higher metabolisms
- Blood draw
- Ultrasound for pregnancy or to be able to better see soft tissues
- X-rays, if needed
- Cloacal wash, which is the equivalent to providing a stool sample
And of course, the major question is HOW. Beyond the schoolyard response of “very carefully,” slight sedation works wonders in anxious patients of whatever species! Get a gander at these behind-the-scenes pictures to see what anaconda exams look like.
Everyone checked out just fine and were returned to their exhibit. Here’s a video of their homecoming!