ST. LOUIS — The Saint Louis Zoo lost one of its longest and most captivating residents this week.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Zoo announced the death of J-Lo, an 18-foot-long green anaconda who has lived at the Zoo since 2010. She was euthanized due to a severe tumor, the post said. The Zoo said she was likely more than 20 years old, but they did not know her exact age.
J-Lo was saved from a food market in Guyana, where she was going to be sold for her meat and skin. An animal exporter bought her from the market and brought her to the United States.
The Zoo said it doesn't normally take in animals collected from the wild, but made an exception for J-Lo.
"Our choice saved her life," the post said.
The post called J-Lo a foundational part of the herpetarium at the Zoo and said she "captivated millions of guests" in her time in St. Louis. Her tremendous size wowed guests, and she was one of the longest and largest green anacondas in any Association of Zoos and Aquariums institution, according to the Zoo.
At 18 feet and 210 pounds, she was also much larger than green anacondas typically get in the wild, where they are typically killed before they can reach that size.
"J-Lo was an ambassador to millions of zoo guests for green anacondas, the Amazon rainforest, and all snake species," the post said.