Beloved Boonshoft Zoo animal has died

One of the longest-living residents of the museum’s zoo

One of the longest-living animal residents at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery Zoo has died.

Rajeev the Burmese python lived at the museum since 1991 and was popular with visitors.

“Rajeev was a favorite for many visitors ranging from toddlers to seniors, and he will be missed,” Stephanie Hyklinski, the curator of live animals, said.

Rajeev, a member of one of the largest snake species in the world, was 28 years old. The average lifespan for pythons under human care is 20-25 years and 15 years in the wild. He weighed 155 pounds and was almost 16-feet long.

The python was named after Dr. Rajeev Venkayya, who today is the President of Global Vaccine Business Unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. As a Fairborn High School student, Dr. Venkayya worked at the museum and helped care for the animals.

“Rajeev’s latest bout of illness took a lot out of him and he was unable to eat at all,” Hyklinski said. “His condition, which consisted primarily of long-term lack of appetite and weight loss brought on by old age, was simply too much for him, and his quality of life was starting to decline.”

“ After much deliberation with our veterinarians, and multiple efforts to treat him, the decision was made to euthanize him humanely. Pet owners will know that euthanizing a geriatric animal is not an easy decision to make, but our animal care staff felt that his condition would not improve.”

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