Out of the python's den

Bali, a 22ft female reticulated python, was coaxed out of her home yesterday by a team of zookeepers in Chester Zoo. A tube was placed around the snake's head to make her feel comfortable, as if she were in a cave.

Richard Gibson, the curator of lower vertebrates and invertebrates, led the team as they spring-cleaned Bali's enclosure and checked her health. Bali, who weighs 13st 8lb, came to Chester three years ago, though her age is not known. Her species is the longest snake in the world and she lives off chickens and turkeys.

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