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Friday 23 August 2019
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Mustard stars on World Snake Day

Visitors Jade Jagpat, from left, Ishana Lakhan and Rianna Jaglal take a picture with Mustard the Albino Burmese Python in the background as they recognised World Snake Day at the Emperor Valley Zoo yesterday. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE
Visitors Jade Jagpat, from left, Ishana Lakhan and Rianna Jaglal take a picture with Mustard the Albino Burmese Python in the background as they recognised World Snake Day at the Emperor Valley Zoo yesterday. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE

Mustard, the albino Burmese python, maintained his popularity among children and adults, resting comfortably inside his enclosure on World Snake Day on Tuesday, less than a week after biting zookeeper Walter Bunyon during feeding time.

He will remain in his regular enclosure, not accessible to visitors to touch, until the end of August. He has not been taken out since the incident last Thursday.

However, the skin he shed last week was on display and visitors were allowed to touch it as part of public education for World Snake Day.

At the snake house, over 15 different species of venomous and non-venomous
snakes were on display within their enclosures, including Max the boa constrictor (locally known as the macajuel) and Mustard. Others included the royal python, rainbow boa, tiger rattlesnake and the green anaconda.

Visitors touch snake skin that was shed by Mustard the Albino Burmese Python as they recognised World Snake Day at the Emperor Valley Zoo yesterday. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE

Max was brought out to the front table by zoological officer Sharleen Khan and zoo volunteer Justin Singh, and visitors were allowed to pet his lower back.

Khan assured Newsday that both Mustard and Bunyon are doing well.

She said, "More people are coming to look for Mustard now, and a lot of people always came to visit him, since he is so popular. A lot of people grew up with him – he's 12 years old. So visitor turnout hasn't decreased, especially since it's the vacation. He actually ate that same day and he's just been resting."

She added that he is still one of the zoo's ambassadors.

One young visitor, Asa Tam, told Newsday Mustard has been his favourite snake for years.

"I just like that even though they have no arms or legs, they can still swim around and climb trees. When I was smaller, I used to come here a lot with my mom and my sister, and Mustard was actually the first snake I ever held," he said.

The zoo urges people who encounter snakes to call the Wildlife Rescue Hotline at 800-4966.

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