Diablo, so named for his feisty personality, was acquired in 1920 from Frank Buck, then Zoo director, as part of an animal shipment from Asia. Keepers were new to this type of snake at the time, so when he stopped eating for five months, the staff was concerned he would starve. They intervened and force-fed him ground up meat.
Because he was so large, several people lined up to hold him for this procedure, and the sight always drew a crowd. As a ZOONOOZ article recalling those days stated: “From a most necessary but unpublicized procedure the feeding grew into an institution attended by every San Diegan in a position to do so.” Just goes to show how much the times and attitudes have changed over 100 years!