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    Massive Python Gets Its Annual Physical

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    JF, a 23-foot-long reticulated python living at the Chester Zoo in the UK, got his annual check-up.

    JF, a 23-foot-long reticulated python living at the Chester Zoo in the UK, got his annual check-up.

    To help keep her calm zoo workers covered her eyes, but it still took several people to hold her in place.

    Not only did they want to make sure JF is top shape, they needed to get an ultrasound scan of her heart as she’s part of a cardiac research study.

    Experts from the Cardiff Metropolitan University, the zoo’s research partner, were on hand to get the images.

    By studying them and ultrasounds taken of other animal hearts, researchers hope to gain insights into the workings of the human ones.

    Thus far they’ve also captured the workings of hearts from giraffes and sharks.

    JF’s is of particular interest because those found in snakes have only three chambers, but some impressive capabilities.

    One is that based on what the snake’s fed on, it can expand and contract relative to the size of the meal.

    Conversely, human hearts only change in size when there’s a problem.

    Said one of the zoo’s veterinarians, “…if we can build up our knowledge of how snake hearts function, we could potentially learn a lot from this comparative data.”