The seven green snakes arrive at the Chennai airport and will be taken by road to Kerala

An unusual cargo, containing seven specimens of Green Anacondas, which arrived from Dehiwala Zoo, Sri Lanka, became the centre of attraction for loaders and those representing the clearing and forwarding agencies at the Cargo terminal of the Chennai airport on Wednesday.

The heaviest and longest reptiles were a gift from the Sri Lankan zoo to the Thiruvananthapuram zoo in Kerala. They arrived as cargo in a passenger aircraft around 3 p.m.

B. Joseph, Director, Department of Museums and Zoos, Government of Kerala, who came to receive the anacondas, said the Thiruvananthapuram zoo is the fourth in the country to get anacondas as exhibits. The Thiruvananthapuram zoo will give a pair of Indian bison to the Sri Lankan zoo in exchange.

Mr. Joseph said the reptiles would be taken by road to Thiruvananthapuram. An air-conditioned vehicle was brought from there to transport the seven reptiles. The Sri Lankan zoo authorities have embedded microchips in all the anacondas. A veterinarian from the Thiruvananthapuram zoo checked the movement of the reptiles at the Cargo terminal after they landed in Chennai, using a hand-held device.

The seven anacondas together weighed 90 kg. The six females measured one-and-a-half metres in length and the male measured about a metre long.

Available records show that anacondas live in swamps, marshes and slow moving streams in the tropical rainforests of Amazon. Primarily a nocturnal, they spend most of their life in and around water. Capybara, deer, tapirs and caimans were some of the prey species for the anacondas.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials said they ensured due care and caution in handling such an unusual consignment.