The world's longest snake died unexpectedly on Tuesday night at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Fluffy, a gigantic reticulated python who had called the zoo home since March 2007, died of an apparent tumor, zoo officials announced on Wednesday.
Fluffy, 18, was 24 feet long and 300 pounds. The snake was named the worlds longest by the Guinness Book of World Records, 10TV's Danielle Elias reported.
Fluffy was originally brought to the zoo on loan, but drew such large crowds as part of the zoo's Asia Quest exhibit, that it became her permanent home.
"She was greatly loved here by the staff, mainly because she was a gentle snake," said zoo spokeswoman Carrie Pratt.
Preliminary findings of a necropsy performed by The Ohio State University College of Veterinary
Medicine revealed the presence of a mass on her ovary.
Reticulated pythons are found in tropical forests in Southeast Asia, the zoo said.
They are the world's longest snakes, averaging 10 to 20 feet in length.
The reticulated python skin has a geometric pattern that camouflages the snake protecting it from predators and allowing it to ambush prey, the zoo said. Reticulated pythons are widespread but they are killed for their skin and numbers are dwindling.
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October 9, 2010: Columbus Zoo's 'Fluffy' May Set World Record