ROCK STAR Cooper's python, Alice, recovering from surgery



The 8-foot snake had swallowed a live rat and a heating pad.
HARTFORD COURANT
HADDAM, Conn. -- Alice, the albino python that undulates onstage with rock star Alice Cooper, is lucky to be alive.
It took veterinarian Richard Jacobs two hours last week to carefully slice open Alice to remove a 12-by-14-inch heating pad, wires and all, from the tummy of the 8-foot snake.
Hours before taking the stage at the careerbuilder.com Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, Conn., on July 31 with the eccentric Cooper, Alice dined on a live rat, then swallowed the heating pad mistakenly placed in her cage.
Cooper's roadies noticed Alice's massive bulge and called Alison Sloan, who helps at-risk snakes.
"It was absolutely an emergency," Sloan said last week, noting that the wires could have ruptured Alice's intestines or other organs with fatal results. "She's a very lucky snake."
Sloan, the director-owner of Ashleigh's Rain Forest in Essex, Conn., directed Alice to Jacobs. She also lent Cooper a yellow anaconda for the Oakdale gig.
On Thursday, Alice, a svelte 13 pounds without the stomach obstruction, was recuperating comfortably, still digesting the rat, at Jacobs' office. Pampered by the vet and his staff, Alice returned the affection with several tongue flutters.
The operation
Just two days earlier, Jacobs and his crew had knocked the patient out and inserted a tube to aid Alice's breathing during the surgery. Jacobs said he sliced open Alice's belly five inches along a row of scales and maneuvered the heating pad out.
"That's an outrageous X-ray," Jacobs said, looking at the pre-op picture of the snake that showed the wires and contacts from the heating pad -- plus a rodent. "It's probably the most astonishing X-ray I've taken in my career."
Cooper, who could not be reached to comment, thanked Sloan for her help and paid the $1,000 surgery bill. He is also allowing Alice to semiretire to Sloan's rescue and rehab.
"Alice Cooper stepped up to pay the vet bill and let Alice live in our rain forest," Sloan said.
Sloan said Cooper might call on Alice to make stage appearances during future performances.

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