June 22 (UPI) -- A 37-year-old anaconda at a zoo in South Africa has been officially declared the oldest snake living in captivity by Guinness World Records.
Paul Swires, who owned Annie the anaconda from 1989 to 2004, said he applied to have the snake, now living at the Monte Casino Bird and Reptile Park, recognized by the record-keeping organization as the oldest living snake.
"There was an unbelievable amount of evidence required, in the form of photographs, media articles, along with witness and vet statements from many people who have worked with Annie over the years," Swires, who now lives in New Zealand, told News24.
He said Guinness did not have a category for oldest snake living in captivity, so the category was created for Annie.
Swires said he received Annie from a collector in 1989 and decided to donate her to the zoo in 2004.
"I had realized that it would be more beneficial to everyone to be able to see Annie in a public place, rather than at my house," he said.
Swires said he last visited his "darling friend" in 2017 and he is hoping to make it back to South Africa to visit Annie before she celebrates her 40th birthday in 2023.