Fans help name ‘extreme snakes’ for Indianapolis Zoo’s new exhibit

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Thanks to responses from around the world, the Indianapolis Zoo has names for some of the snakes featured in its new exhibit.

People could submit their ideas for two weeks. Zoo officials said suggestions came in from as far away as England, Finland and Mumbai. The three winning entries, however, came from Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois.

Here are the final selections:

  • Reticulated python — Artemis (pronounced ART-eh-miss) after the mythological Greek goddess of the hunt
  • Green mamba — Mahiri (pronounced mah-HEE-ree), a Swahili word that means “vibrant”
  • Black mamba — Haraka (pronounced ha-RAH-ka), which means “fast” in Swahili

The new exhibit, “Size, Speed & Venom: Extreme Snakes,” will open May 25. It will feature more than 20 species when renovations are completed in the Zoo’s Deserts Dome. Visitors will get the chance to see some of the world’s largest and most dangerous snakes.

Here’s more from the Zoo about some of the featured snakes:

Widely regarded as one of the world’s deadliest snakes, the name black mamba derives not from the color of their bodies, which is actually brown, but from their sharply colored black mouths. Green mambas are also highly venomous and are distinguished by their striking and marvelous green skin. Unlike mambas that use speed and venom to hunt their prey, pythons instead rely on their great size and incredible strength. The reticulated python is one of the world’s largest snakes, growing to nearly 30 feet in length with exquisite patterns.

Fans from 27 states and five countries submitted more than 3,600 names during the two-week submission period. The fans who submitted the winning names will receive a snake plush and four tickets to see the new exhibit when it opens.

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