On Monday evening, staff of the tropical zoo in Tula (south of Moscow) discovered a runaway anaconda after 24 days' absence.
The three-metre snake lived out of its cage since August 2, Yelena Krasnova, leading serpentologist at the zoo told RIA Novosti. Where the serpent lodged all this time remains a mystery even now. There was a constant vigorous search for the fugitive reptile, but the old building's cellars have quite a few distant corners to hide in.
After feeling the misery of stray life, the snake ended up returning home because time came for it to moult its skin, Krasnova explained. Seeking water, the beast headed for the abandoned cage.
The process of tracking the anaconda down had something of a detective story in it. To begin with, scraps of old snake-skin were found in the zoo's biggest aquarium, leading the staff to restrained exultation. Next, light broke off suddenly at one of the terrariums. Trying to find out what the matter was, the amazed personnel discovered torn wirework, a whole snake-skin and the wretched creature huddled between the terrarium walls.
The anaconda lost much of its weight, so a special diet and microclimate had to be provided for it. Now the vagabond snake is adapting back for cage life and regaining its size.