The reticulated python (Python reticulatus) is the world’s longest and one of the heaviest snake species. While python is nonvenomous it is nevertheless dangerous to humans having been involved in quite a few incidents. The most recent one occurred in March 2017 in Indonesia where a 23-foot reticulated python killed and swallowed a 25-year-old farmer. Hours later villagers killed the python and extract the dead body of an unfortunate Indonesian. Reticulated pythons are native to Southeast Asia. They are remarkable swimmers and are thought to swim many isolated islands. Biologists have recognized three subspecies of reticulated python.
Reticulated Python Facts
- The reticulated python is the largest Asian snake with adults measuring up to 1.5 to 6.5 m (4.9 to 21.3 ft) and weighs as much as 1 to 75 kg (2.2 to 165.3 lb). Reports show that some pythons reach the length of about 6 m (19.7 ft) but they are too rare. They are nearly of the same length as green anaconda.
- The largest specimen ever measured to date is 6.95 m (22.8 ft) in length and weighed 59 kg (130 lb). The specimen belonged to East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Sources said that this specimen starved for about 3 months.
- Reticulated pythons have varied color patterns but the most common is irregular diamond shapes with small markings. The body is also marked with zigzag dorsal stripes that run along the parallel rows of pale spots. The color pattern mainly depends on the geographic location. The Indonesian specimen shows different patterns as compared to the Malaysian python.
- They have slender body and elongated head and appear to be quite similar to the African rock pythons and Asian rock pythons in the overall body shape.
- The python seem to possess dorsal scales which are arranged in 69–79 rows.
- While adults are less arboreal young pythons will spend many hours coiled around the tree branches. In Thailand young reticulated pythons often sleep in the overhanging branches.
- Adult pythons fancy moving on the ground because they must prey on larger animals which are not found in the trees.
- The regal python is the other name of reticulated python.
Reticulated Python Range
- The reticulated python is a Southeast Asian snake and it occurs in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Cambodia, Singapore, Burma, Thailand, Bangladesh, Laos, and Philippine.
- In the Indo-Australian Archipelago reticulated pythons inhabit the islands of Sumatra, Java, Sumba, Natuna Islands, Flores, Mentawai, Maluku, Lombok, and Sulawesi.
- The Philippine islands such as Mindoro, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Polillo, Samar, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Bohol, Cebu, and Leyte are home to many reticulated pythons. It is the only python species found in Philippine.
Reticulated Python Habitat
- The reticulated python is likely to make homes in woodlands, monsoon forests, plantations, swamps, grasslands, and rainforests.
- They make habitats at an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level.
- Reticulated pythons are excellent swimmers probably the best swimmers in pythons. That being said that have swum in rivers, lakes, streams, and seas. Pythons have showed their strength by colonizing many small islands while swimming.
Reticulated Python Diet and Feeding Ecology
- Adults prefer to eat mammals and are less likely to consume birds. However if they are unable to hunt small mammals pythons feast on birds.
- A young python around 3 – 4 meters long is going to feed on rodents including rats.
- Adults typically prey on large animals such as civets, primates, pigs, and binturongs.
- Like most snakes reticulated pythons are also opportunistic hunters. They will eat just about anything ranging from domestic chickens, cats as well as dogs. Pythons are not scared to live near human habitation.
- Reticulated pythons are ambush hunters. They will strike only when the prey is close enough.
- They are able to swallow prey one-quarter the weight of their own.
- Reticulated pythons are oviparous species.
- The clutch size contains 15 – 80 eggs.
- The incubation temperature is 31–32 °C. The eggs are incubated in 65 – 105 days.
- Eggs take almost 3 months to hatch.
- Newborn pythons measure around 2 ft (61 cm) in length.
Reticulated Python Lifespan
- The average lifespan of reticulated pythons is 15 – 20 years in the natural habitat. Some adults have lived as much as 25 to 30 years.
- Reticulated pythons make very good pets but the keeper of pythons must be an expert for they can be unpredictable at times. Sometimes pythons will confuse human’s hand with food and are likely to constrict around your hand. Therefore, biologists suggest strict precautionary measures in order to keep reticulated python in captivity.