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British Researchers Perform Ultrasound on 198-pound Reticulated Python

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Bali, the reticulated python lives in the Chester Zoo in England. A tube was used to cover her head. Screen capture courtesy Sky NewsClick image to enlarge

An ultrasound was performed on Bali as part of a study on the human heart. Screen capture courtesy Sky News

Researchers with Cardiff Metropolitan University in England who are studying animal hearts in an effort to improve their understanding of the human heart have successfully performed an ultrasound on the heart of a 23-foot-long reticulated python (Python reticulatus) named Bali. The 198-pound python lives in the Chester Zoo where the ultrasound took place. According to Sky News which first reported the story, it took eight handlers to carry the reptile. To keep her from striking and to calm her down, her head was covered with a tube.

We have seen the heart, Cardiff Metropolitan’s Eric Stohr told Sky News. We’re not entirely sure whether we’ve seen exactly what we wanted to see. But we’re trying to look at the images now and maybe see how the heart is moving, how the blood is flowing through the heart.

The researchers, who have conducted similar studies on giraffes and sharks, say the heart of the reticulated python is particularly notable as it has three chambers, whereas the human heart has four chambers.

The reticulated python is the largest snake in the world and is capable of growing to more than 30 feet in length. It is native to Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines and can be found in rainforests, woodlands, and grasslands near streams and rivers. In the pet trade, there are three varieties of reticulated python that grow to a range of sizes. Super dwarf reticulated pythons average around 6 to 9 feet, while the mainland retics grow larger, averaging 20 feet in length or more. 

Watch a Quick Care Video of the Reticulated Python.

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About the Author:

Paul Khunkhun, serving Southern California since 1998. Paul is the owner of MDIS. He is a Board Certified Ultrasound Sonographer with RDCS and RVT credentialing. He is also pending ICAEL accreditation.

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