Ever wondered what happens when a snake goes to hospital?

Rico the Boa Constrictor slithered his way into Perth Zoo’s vet hospital for a health check!

Tipping the scales at 10kg and stretching out to about 2.5 metres in length, Rico isn’t your average patient – but vets say he’s in ssspectacular health!

While under general anaesthetic, the vet team conducted thorough checks of his overall body condition and mobility, took X-rays from head to tail, drew blood samples and took swabs for viral testing. 

Perth Zoo Veterinarian Taylor Hawkins said: “This routine check-up showed that Rico is in good health for his age. 

“It’s important we have regular scheduled health exams for all our animals so we can keep across their health and ensure we are providing the individualised, targeted care needed.  

“Rico’s keepers do a wonderful job of taking care of him, so we are pleased to see he is looking his scaly best.”

Following a smooth recovery from the procedure, Rico was returned to his warm habitat in the Zoo’s Reptile Encounter. 
Rico arrived at Perth Zoo in 2008 after he was found being kept illegally as a pet. Now, he’s an important ambassador, helping visitors to develop an appreciation for his scaly species. 


  • Boa Constrictors can grow to between 1.5 – 4 metres long. Females are larger than males.
  • Unlike pythons, Boa Constrictors give birth to live young, rather than laying a clutch of eggs
  • Their scales are designed to blend in with their surroundings, within tropical forests, woodlands and semi-arid savannah
  • Boa Constrictors kill prey by squeezing, not through use of venom