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Edmonton zoo employee ‘doing well’ following Burmese python bite

A zoo employee is recovering after she was bitten Tuesday by a Burmese rock python.
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An animal handler at a pet store in Clifton, N.J., holds a pet Burmese Python in a Dec. 13, 2004 file photo. An employee at the Edmonton zoo was taken to hospital Tuesday morning after she was bitten by a Burmese Python. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Jim Lord

A zoo employee is recovering after she was bitten Tuesday by a Burmese rock python.

Debi Winwood, a spokesperson for Edmonton Valley Zoo, said in a statement that the woman received immediate first aid from other employees and emergency services were called.

She said the woman was taken to hospital for minor medical treatment and “is doing well.”

Alberta Health Services confirmed in a statement that emergency services responded to a snake bite at the zoo around 8:19 a.m. It said a woman in her 30s was taken to the hospital in “stable, non-life-threatening condition.”

Winwood said the city is reviewing what happened, including procedures for carrying the snake. She said all emergency protocols were followed.

The snake, named Lucy, is about 15 years old, weighs 75 kilograms and is 3.6 metres long.

Winwood said Lucy has been at the zoo since December 2016 and “has not previously demonstrated any aggressive behaviour.”

She added that all of the reptiles at the zoo are non-venomous.

Lucy can still be viewed by the public in her secured enclosure, as she always has, Winwood said.

Burmese rock pythons are native to forested areas, grasslands and marshes in Southeast Asia, and are one of the largest snakes in the world.

According to Edmonton Valley Zoo, they can live up to 15 years and grow up to 7.6 metres long.

While the snakes are under severe threat in their natural habitat, they are considered an invasive species in Florida.