Atomic Betty faces the scales
WHEN Betty hit 135kg, she was put on a strict diet of only a few goats a year.It was a sign she needed to start watching her weight, so keepers at the Australian Reptile Park in Gosford were pleased to see the reticulated python weighing in at a svelte 137 kg on Wednesday.
Atomic Betty, the longest species of snake in the world and believed to be the biggest in Australia, had staff in hiss-terics as they tried to bag her for her annual weigh in.
It took six reptile keepers half an hour to bag the park's biggest catch and potential man-eater.
When they finally got the 6.5 metre snake to the scales, it was revealed she had put only 2kg since the previous year.
Tim Faulkner, the park's operations manager, said it was no mean feat to get Betty, who has the ability to crush a person to death and swallow them whole, out of her glassed enclosure.
"The scary thing is that she has the ability to crush us," Mr Faulkner said at the park in Gosford, on the NSW Central Coast.
"You've got about a second to grab (her head) because as we go down they've got extremely good vision and she is going to strike."
Mr Faulkner said Betty's favourite food was goat.
"She didn't grow by a lot and that's because we actually stopped her from consuming as much food," he said.
"This year she only had about three or four goats as opposed to maybe 10 because she was getting a little bit too round rather than getting longer."
Betty usually swallows a goat in about an hour though it takes up to a week to digest.
She was imported from the US in 2001 and is expected to grow another metre in the next seven years.
The reticulated python is usually found in southeast Asia.
The constrictor is non-venomous but is a man-eater and strong enough to swallow a human whole.