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A correspondent of the London Times, wlio lias visited the Tierpark of Herr August Fockelmann at Gross-Eorstel, near Hamburg, writes: "Herr Fockelmann, after having taken me over the grounds, led the way into what has good right to be called his reptile-house. As he lifted a frained-glass cover I must admit 1 started back, for within less than yard was an enormous python coiletE. round a number of eggs, and, though the reptile lay still as death, tie consequences would probably have been serious had it been disturbed. iheanimal (Python reticulatus) had been purchased in Singapore by a Germansailor who trades to the East and adds a little to his income by dealing insuch animals as comĀ© in _his way. ; When his ship arrived in Hamburg;, about the middle of August he sold the python to Herr Fockelmann, who, while bargaining for the animal, was attracted by its unusually large girth, especially on the hinder part of the body. On being put into the cage it was greatly excited and hissed loudly. On August 22, five days after its arrival at Gross-Borstel, it began to lay eggs, and on the evening of that day five or six eggs were seen; the next day there were from 35 to 4.0, and the day following from 60 to 70. August 24 appears to have been the last day of oviposition, for in the evening the python gathered the eggs into a heap' and coiled round them, with its head on the top.. Exact enumeration was impossible, as some of the eggs were covered by the coils. Whne I saw thepython some of the eggs were uncovered, and the reptile's head was aft the far side of the cage, lying on a coil. On September 22 two eggs, weretaken out and examined; each contained a young python, and when, these, preserved in spirit, were shown me I could clearly make out the mouth and eyes. Every evening the: python goes into the tank close by, remaining practically motionless^ byday on the eggs, and. of course, it isnot disturbed in any way. The average temperature of the cage was given to me by Herr Fockelmann as 25-30' deg. R., or approximately 90-100deg. Fahr. In the same room I saw more large crocodiles than I had ever before seen together, and about 100 tortoises from Madagascar. With that island Herr Fockelmann does considerable business, and has imported therefrom' three specimens* of the aye-aye, theaberrant lemur, formerly supposed by some to be a rodent, and three more are expected during the present month, together with a ;number of rare lemurs. Since my visit to GrossBorstel, Herr Fockelmann has obtained a young male gorilla, which when sitting is said to be 40 centimetres high. lam told that it is in excellent condition and feeding well, so that here is a chance for. any zoological director' who wishes to emulate the success of Dr. Grabowsky in Breslau. That garden holds an easy record for the longevity of gorillas in captivity; the famous Pussi, whose bronke statue seands in front of her old home, lived there for rather more than seven-' years."

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Bibliographic details

Marlborough Express, Marlborough Express, Volume XLI, Issue 293, 12 December 1907

Word Count

AN INCUBATING PYTHON. Marlborough Express, Volume XLI, Issue 293, 12 December 1907