Burmese Python Fantasia, NYC's Favorite 23-Foot Albino, Dies at 20

Image: Burmese Python Fantasia, NYC's Favorite 23-Foot Albino, Dies at 20 The Albino Burmese python at the Staten Island Zoo Reptile Wing.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 12:06 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Fantasia, the 23-foot albino Burmese python that was a longtime fixture at the Brooklyn Children's Museum, has died at the Staten Island Zoo where the reptile was moved earlier in the year.

Fantasia, which weighed more than 300 pounds, was moved from the children's museum to the zoo in February, according to Staten Island Live. The museum said the python, touted as the largest snake in New York City, had been part of the museum for 15 years before it was moved.

The snake was moved to the zoo in order to give it regular veterinary care because of its advanced age of 20 years. Burmese pythons typically live for 15 to 20 years in the wild and can survive up to 25 years in captivity.

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"Fantasia had become a very popular attraction here at the Zoo from her first day," said Brian Morris, Staten Island Zoo spokesman. "We were happy to have her in her final years, and it was an important opportunity to collaborate with the Brooklyn Children's Museum."

Fantasia came to the museum in 1998 and had become the most popular part of the institute's herpetology collection. The New York Times reported that the Burmese python was just six feet long at the time of its arrival before growing in size and popularity at the museum.

"We're heartbroken, because we all hoped that she'd have several more years," Mindy Duitz, Brooklyn Children's museum president, told The Times. Caretakers told the newspaper that Fantasia was "curious and calm" and not inclined to be aggressive after the move.

Dr. Marc Valitutto, who had been treating Fantasia for some time, told The Times that the snake, which had come to snapping up her prey whole in later years, was probably fed too well.

"She was very well overfed, had a lot of fat," Valitutto told the Times. "Her size is incredibly intimidating, but her personality just offset the intimidation factor."

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