A python smuggled from Vietnam to Switzerland as a baby has been handed to a Swiss zoo after outgrowing the private home it has lived in for two decades.
The nonvenomous reptile, which 20 years ago fit inside the trouser leg of a Swiss boy returning home from a holiday with his mother in Vietnam, today measures five metres (16 feet) and weighs 80 kilos (180 pounds), according to the Garenne zoo in western Switzerland.
The boy was caught with the snake, named Samy, when entering Switzerland, but was allowed to keep it after paying a fine, animal keeper Julien Regamey told the ATS news agency.
The boy took care of Samy for the next decade before his mother took over the care for another 10 years.
"The snake had a whole room in the house to itself," Regamey said.
No longer in a position to care for the python, which can live to the age of 50 years and grow to eight metres, the family decided to hand the animal over to the zoo.
Garenne zoo said it was keeping Samy temporarily while a special vivarium was being built to house him in nearby Saint-Cergue.