Missy Red Tail Phython (died February 14, 1958 in Birmingham) was a 12- to 16-foot-long python captured at a mining area in the Bomi Hills of Liberia and donated to the Birmingham Zoo by Charles Dewey and William Engel of the Liberia Mining Co. Ltd.
The snake was transported in a crate on the Enduro, along with 23,000 tons of iron ore to the Port of Mobile, arriving on April 3. During the 14-day voyage she was given water, but nothing to eat, except perhaps one or more eggs she had laid either before or during her transit. She was then loaded onto a truck for the trip to Birmingham the following day.
Notified of the gift after it was already on its way, Mayor James Morgan worried that there were "no provisions for such a powerful snake at the zoo," but hoped that something could be arranged before it arrived.
The python died in 1958. An autopsy performed by a veterinarian found "several colonies of small worms" in its carcass, and sent samples to the Alabama Polytechnic Institute for identification. Zoo officials planned to replace the exhibit after construction of a new Reptile House was completed.
- "Boa housing is a problem for officials" (March 1, 1957) The Birmingham News - via Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections
- "16-Foot Python Coming To Zoo" (April 4, 1957) Birmingham Post-Herald - via Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections
- "Snake story" (May 24, 1957) The Birmingham News - via [http://www.bplonline.org/resources/Digital_Project/default.asp Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections
- "Mystery ailment kills python at zoo" (February 15, 1958) The Birmingham News - via [http://www.bplonline.org/resources/Digital_Project/default.asp Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections