The Vancouver Aquarium performs a multitude of surgeries on wild animals, but they faced a particularly unique challenge last week.
The team discovered a blue and green stuffed python stranded in the Graham Amazon Gallery that had a one-inch tear on its tail. After discovering the snake, the team received an email from a woman named Andrea Hall, who was hoping to locate the lost serpent.
The snake belongs to Hall’s son, four-year-old Oscar, who was devastated after he lost his slithery pal on a visit to the Aquarium. The Staben family had been in Vancouver from Trail to visit BC Children’s Hospital for an important MRI scan. Before they returned home, Hall bought the stuffed-toy for Oscar and his two-year-old brother, Rocco.
“To most of us, it’s just a stuffed snake, but to Oscar, it’s his best friend. He cried most of the drive home,” said Hall.
Not only did the Aquarium’s Visitor Experience team leap into action, but they also decided to create a few special memories along the way.
Kelsey Smith, assistant manager of Visitor Experience, called on the help of head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena and the Aquarium’s veterinary team to address the snake’s injury. After a thorough physical exam, the team carefully administered twelve sutures to repair the tear. Following this, they stayed by Pythie’s side to monitor his post-operation recovery.
“Care and connection are at the heart of everything we do at the Vancouver Aquarium,” said Karen Howe, director of visitor experience at the Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative. “Our team saw an opportunity to turn a sad experience to a truly memorable moment and, in true Vancouver Aquarium style, there was no shortage of helping hands.”
Pythie, along with a treatment plan from the vet team for ‘love and hugs’ as well as some photos from Pythie’s adventures at the Aquarium, were delivered to the Staben family earlier this week.
“Pythie has arrived safe and sound,” said Andrea. “Thank you for taking such great care of him and for the clean bill of health. It has meant the world to Oscar to see photos of Pythie’s adventures at the Aquarium. I have one truly appreciative little boy.”
Stuffed Python Surgery