Salisbury Zoo has new anaconda and iguana

A yellow anaconda from the South American tropics has joined other reptiles on exhibit at the Salisbury Zoo.

The 34-pound snake named Arpona is one of the zoo’s latest additions and can be seen in the William E. Morgan Conservation Center.

“She’s a pretty cool snake,” said zookeeper Hannah Buchek.

The zoo acquired Arpona from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan., last October, but she was not put on public display until last weekend. The zoo also added a new Mexican spiny tailed iguana.

Arpona is 21 years old, which is near the end of the average lifespan of yellow anacondas, although they can live longer, Buchek said.

The snake eats medium-sized rabbits which arrive frozen and must be thawed before feeding, she said. Their slow metabolism requires them to be fed only once a month.

In the wild, anacondas eat fish, small mammals, birds and turtles that inhabit the rivers and swamps of the rain forest, Buchek said.

“They’ll eat pretty much what they can fit in their mouth,” she said.

Yellow anacondas are smaller than green anacondas which are the largest snakes in the world.

Yellow anacondas coil their bodies around their prey and constrict it until it suffocates, according to the World Land Trust website. They live in swamps and rivers and are sometimes known as water boas. 

Salisbury’s yellow anaconda and the new spiny tailed iguana have joined other reptiles in the zoo’s conservation center which opened in 2017.

Other species on view there include a Panamanian golden frog, a Caiman lizard, a Jamaican iguana and a mata mata turtle.

Located in the Salisbury City Park, the zoo has existed since the 1950s and at one time had an elephant named Ollie that was donated by the Oliphant car dealership.

In recent years, the zoo has added the Discover Australia exhibit which last year saw the birth of a wallaby.

The zoo is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Admission and parking are free.

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