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Shedd Provides a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Veterinary Check-Ups for Two Green Tree Pythons

Nothing Spooky About Going to the Vet for a Preventative Care Exam

October 28, 2021

A long green snake slithers across a desk towards an open laptop.

Shedd Aquarium is sharing a behind-the-scenes look at a veterinary exam for its two green tree pythons, Ivy and Jasmine. The experts took extra caution with these reptiles, who are fully grown at five feet long or 60 inches in length. But overall, the wellness check at the aquarium’s on-site animal hospital was a routine exam.

Shedd Resident Veterinarian Dr. Anthony Cerreta and the animal health team performed a physical exam on Ivy and Jasmine that included documenting their size, checking their eyes, examining their body condition, and collecting and testing blood samples. In addition, experts also took x-ray scans of the green tree pythons to provide a closer look to view the inside of their body non-invasively to monitor the animal.

Preventative care for aquatic animals isn’t that different from the care people receive. It allows the veterinary team to collect baseline data on the animals that call the aquarium home. Shedd’s commitment to preventative care includes monitoring from the caretakers who work most closely with these animals to ensure even the slightest changes are documented so veterinarians can diagnose and treat any problems as soon as possible.

Ivy and Jasmine, green tree pythons at Shedd Aquarium, received a clean bill of health. While these animals can’t be found in a specific exhibit at the aquarium, they serve as ambassador animals, which means they spend their time either behind the scenes or throughout the building with animal care team members. Ambassador animals help educate guests and provide them with up-close experiences that build their compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world.

BACKGROUND: Known for their vibrant coloration that helps them camouflage into the leaves of tall trees and avoid predators, green tree pythons are found in tropical rainforests with thick vegetation. They spend most of their day in the trees, curled over the branches with their heads resting on their coils. This nocturnal python is an aggressive hunter, using thermo sensory pits (heat sensors) on its jaw to track warm-blooded prey. They are known to utilize strategy while hunting, wiggling their tail to attract curious animals within grabbing distance. They eat birds, lizards and mammals in the wild.

VISUALS: High-resolution images and b-roll are available to download:
Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez