Arts & Entertainment

Essex County Executive Participates in Public Weighing and Measuring of Reticulated Python at Turtle Back Zoo


WEST ORANGE, NJ In celebration of World Snake Day on Saturday, July 16, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. helped animal keepers from Essex County Turtle Back Zoo measure and weigh the reticulated python this week. The 16-year-old python, named Angie, weighed 132 pounds and was 17 feet 2¾ inches long.

Reticulated pythons are among the longest in the world, with the record being 33 feet. Angie was was 14 feet long and 90 pounds when she came to Turtle Back Zoo in 2005, when the Education and Reptile Building first opened.

DiVincenzo said that allowing the public and students from the summer camp view the weigh-in and measuring was a rare opportunity to get an up-close look at these strong reptiles that usually are only seen behind glass.

Sign Up for E-News

“We are always looking for new ways to expand the zoo experience to educate the public about nature and conservation, and to raise awareness about the important role animals have in the world,” said Turtle Back Zoo Director Brint Spencer. “Witnessing the power and grace that the reticulated python possesses will give people a better understanding and appreciation for the animals.”

According to zookeepers, pythons are indigenous to tropical regions near the equator in Asia, Africa and Australia. The reptiles were introduced to the United States, South America and Europe as pets.

Generally, pythons have a forked tongue that helps them detect their prey. They kill through constriction, which means that they literally squeeze the life out of their prey, causing asphyxiation, or suffocation.

Experts say that pythons swallow the entire body of their prey, so the larger the prey, the longer it takes to digest. This means that the reptile may only eat four to five times per year.

In the wild, pythons feed on lizards, caiman (small alligator-like animals), monkeys, antelope and farm animals.

In addition to the many exhibits, there will be more time available to spend at the Turtle Back Zoo for the remainder of the summer. 

On Wednesdays and Thursdays during July and August, the  zoo offers Family Nights, with extended evening hours to 8:30 p.m. During that time, "Zoo-vies​", featuring animal-related movies, will be shown.

Click HERE to see the schedule and other information.

The Zoo is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $11 for children and senior citizens, and free for children younger than two years. For more information, call 973-731-5800 or visit

DiVincenzo has spearheaded more than $70 million in upgrades to Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, which have included the development of the following exhibit:

  • A new Educational Building;
  • A Carousel with 33 figures of endangered animals;
  • A Sea Lion Sound Exhibit with sea lions, sharks and sting rays;
  • The Big Cat Country Exhibit with jaguars and cougars;
  • Tam-ring Gibbons Reserve with white cheeked gibbons apes, Reeves muntjac and white-naped cranes;
  • An Australian Exhibit that features kangaroos, wallabies, emus and more than 500 birds in the Aviary;
  • A Reptile and Education Center;
  • Open air-dining pavilion and playground;
  • A Penguin Exhibit, Otter Exhibit, Wolf Exhibit, Alligator Exhibit, North American Animal Exhibit, and Black Bear Exhibit;
  • An Animal Hospital;
  • The Essex Farm Petting Zoo;
  • A South American Animal Exhibit;
  • The renovating the Food Pavilion for year-round use;
  • Upgrades to the entrance as well as fencing and infrastructure to meet AZA requirements.

Funding has been provided through Green Acres grants, existing capital improvement bonds, or donations from the Zoological Society, Essex County Parks Foundation, corporations or private foundations.

Corporations that have provided support include Investors Bank, Prudential Financial, Inc., Wells Fargo (Wachovia Bank), PNC Bank, PSE&G, Verizon, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Coca Cola, Capital One Bank, TD Bank, Aramark, Covanta Energy and OxyMagic carpet cleaning.

Located on Northfield Ave. in West Orange, the Essex County Park System was the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 22 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, ice-skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, three off-leash dog facilities, a castle and the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Verona/Cedar Grove

Original Pancake House of West Caldwell Evacuated in Possible Pepper Spray Incident

May 20, 2018

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The Original Pancake House in West Caldwell was evacuated early Saturday afternoon due to a possible pepper spray incident that caused ambulances from the West Essex, Verona and Bloomfield First Aid Squads to assist at the scene.

Bianca Pietro, a West Orange mother of two, said she was seated inside the glass atrium on the south side of the building that faces ...

Cedar Grove Police Blotter

May 21, 2018

May 14, 2018 – May 20, 2018

On May 14, 2018 at 5:57 p.m., Ptl. Michael Passafiume stopped a vehicle without a front license plate and tinted windows. A subsequent investigation led to the arrest of the 36 year old male driver from Paterson for driving with a suspended license. He was processed and released with a summons to appear in municipal court.

On May 15, 2018 at 8:31 a.m., Ptl.

Community Sends Thoughts and Prayers to East Brook Middle School, Paramus Strong

May 17, 2018

PARAMUS, NJ – Around 10:30 AM Thursday morning, a bus filled with East Brook Middle School 5th Grade Students was involved in a motor vehicle accident along I-80 in Mount Olive, NJ. The students were enroute to Waterloo Village for a class field trip. It was initially reported that the bus had collided with a dump truck causing the bus to roll into the median and dislodge from its ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, May 22, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

How to Live Longer and Stay Healthy

Health & Wellness

Wed, May 23, 7:30 PM

Cedar Grove Public Library, Cedar Grove

The Caldwell Railway

Arts & Entertainment


Fri, May 25, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library Auditorium, Montclair

Let's Listen to Jazz

Arts & Entertainment

Author Event at Cedar Grove Library

May 16, 2018

Meet Author and Cedar Grove Resident, Lisa Romeo at the Cedar Grove Library on Thursday, May 17 @ 7 pm. as she discusses her new memoir, Starting with Goodbye, which explores grief, love, loss and father/daughter bonds. Come hear about her book, ask questions and enjoy some light refreshments. Books will be available for sale signed by the author.

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

'The Sting' with Harry Connick Jr. Slithers and Shakes at Paper Mill

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and Chicago.  Scott Joplin’s music is intertwined with the show, especially “The ...