During the outbreak of WW2, London Zoo killed all their venomous animals in case the zoo was bombed and the animals escaped.
War broke out on 3rd September 1939. At 11.00 am the Zoological Gardens were closed by order of the Government, as were all other public places where people gathered in large numbers.
The Zoo had been preparing for war for some time. Zoo records show that at the beginning of September 1939, some of the Zoo's most valuable animals were transferred to Whipsnade for safety; two giant pandas, two orang-utans, four chimpanzees, three Asian elephants, and an ostrich.
All the venomous animals were killed to remove the possibility of having dangerous animals escape if the Zoo were bombed. However, some reptiles were saved, among them the Komodo dragon and Chinese alligators. Two large wooden boxes 8ft long by 4ft wide and 2ft deep were built to accommodate two huge pythons, one 28ft long and the other 25ft long.