18-foot 'monster' named winner of Australian park's Battle of the Snakes

In honor of World Snake Day, the Australian Reptile Park turned their annual reptile health checks into a friendly competition. 

Visitors who were unaware of the holiday were terrified to see the park's three largest snakes out in the open as employees measured and weighed them in front of the growing crowds. Each snake is considered extremely dangerous and required multiple handlers to lift. 

Health checks like these are crucial for their well-being. Unlike mammals, which may stop eating or become more vocal to express distress, snakes don't have any noticeable markers of illness. That's why it's important for keepers to consistently check their weight and length, even if the snakes put up a fight.

The staff also has to be experienced and highly trained to perform these checks safely. While this year's "battle" took place without any mishaps, handlers in the past have been bitten — normal behavior for large, aggressive snakes like these, but not fun for an audience of civilians to witness.

Monster, a reticulated python, was crowned the 2019 winner, weighing in at 134 pounds and 18 feet long. Reticulated pythons, the world's largest species of snake as well as one of the few snakes to be considered true man-eaters, can live up to 30 years in captivity.

Second place was awarded to Fluffy, a 108-pound, 14-foot Burmese python, while Nicki Minaj the green anaconda came in third with a weight of 77 pounds and a length of 12 feet.

5 PHOTOS
Snakes where they aren't supposed to be
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Snakes where they aren't supposed to be
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Climbing snake (Photo by Luca Manieri, Getty Images)
A model with tattoo poses with a python around her neck during 2015 China (Taiyuan) International Automobile Exhibition on August 6, 2015 in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province of China. 2015 China (Taiyuan) International Automobile Exhibition held from August 6-9. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
ANDREWS, SC - OCTOBER 09: A snake floats along the flood water being fed from the breached dams upstream as the water continues to reach areas in the eastern part of the state on October 9, 2015 in Andrews, South Carolina. The state of South Carolina experienced record rainfall amounts causing severe flooding and officials expect the damage from the flooding waters to be in the billions of dollars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A snake phython type found on the street at Halim - Jakarta, Indonesia, on 8 December 2016. The snake stuck on the street causing a little traffick, but manage evacuated by a taxi driver to the near river at the location. (Photo by Donal Husni/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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