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New python comes to Brit Spaugh
Toby the leopard turns 18
This ball python is the newest addition at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo.
Last week Toby the leopard celebrated his 18th birthday. The zookeepers gave him a watermelon to play with and captured the occasion on video. This screenshot is from the video posted on the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo’s Facebook page.

There’s a new “education snake” at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo, a ball python named Eros.

Education animals sometimes meet the public at scheduled programs as well as outreaches to area schools. Most of the zoo’s education animals, including the new snake, are also on exhibit.

“Eros is in the Raptor Center where the other snakes are housed,” Zoo Supervisor and Curator Ashley Burdick said.

Ball pythons are a non-venomous constrictor species native to the bushlands and savannas of Central and Western Africa. According to Lehigh Valley Zoo, the species is not considered endangered.

Adults range in length from 3-6 feet with females being larger than males.

Ball pythons are named for their behavior of curling themselves up into a tight ball, according to They can live up to 30 years with proper care.

Protecting pollinators

In other zoo news, Burdick said that staff are planning a pollinator event from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, June 23, near the butterfly garden. Children who visit the zoo during the event can plant milkweed to take home with them to help attract butterflies and other pollinators.

Zoo camp

The zoo is also offering a summer camp from July 18-21. From Monday through Thursday of that week, participants will be at the zoo from 9:30-11 a.m. to explore the lives, habitats and conservation of animals around the world — found right here in Great Bend. Each session will include hands-on activities and craft projects, and kids can expect to meet a few critters throughout the week. Registration is through the Great Bend Recreation Center; the fee is $15. Register online at or visit the office at 1214 Stone St.

Summer behavior

School is out and the Wetlands Waterpark, also located in Brit Spaugh Park, is open for the summer. That means an increase in the number of children visiting the zoo, Burdick said. She reminded visitors that shirts, pants/shorts and shoes are required. Kids 12 years of age and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

“We have a lot of dangerous animals and need to make sure everyone is being safe,” she explained. “Also during summer, we’d like to remind visitors that when it’s over 90 degrees the animals have access to their indoor buildings where they have fans and cool concrete.”

As the temperature rises, the best time of day to see animals at the zoo is first thing in the morning. Visitors can also stay cool inside the Raptor Center, where they can view reptiles, amphibians and fish.