WATCH : This 8-year-old girl has a python as a swimming buddy, Newsline

G’ea, Israel (Reuters) – Eight-year-old Inbar likes to cool off in her small backyard pool in Israel with her favourite swimming buddy – her pet python.

The 11-foot (3.3 metre) yellow serpent, named Belle, is one of her family’s many pets, living happily together on an animal sanctuary in an agricultural community in southern Israel.

She was named after Belle, the female character in Walt Disney’s popular animated film Beauty and the Beast, who dons a yellow ball gown in a famous dance scene in the movie.

Inbar said Belle is good company during a coronavirus lockdown that has kept schools closed over the past few weeks.

“It helps me pass the time because I really like to hang out with snakes and sometimes I help snakes shed (their skin) and I help them to be happy during coronavirus,” Inbar said.

Sarit Regev, Inbar’s mother, said the two grew up together.

“Inbar was raised with all these animals and she was raised with the snakes. When Inbar was little she swam inside the bath with the snake and now she has grown up and the snake got bigger, so they swim together in the pool. It’s very natural for us,” she said.

“There are people that say – ‘you are crazy, how can you do it, you don’t love your kids,'” said Regev. “It’s a lovely life to live like this. When a kid grows up with animals he becomes a person that loves other people, he becomes a person that cares about others and not about himself,” she said.