Sumatra Reticulated Python, Sulawesi Reticulate Python
Scientific Name: Python reticulatus
The extremely large Reticulated Python can reach up to 25 feet or more in length and weigh up to 350 pounds. Most specimens are somewhat smaller, usually averaging around 20 feet, and the females are usually larger than the males. The body of the Reticulated Python is marked with a beautiful geometric pattern consisting of diamonds along the dorsal surface that are surrounded by smaller markings. The pattern is made up of a variety of different colors. The only marking that appears on its head is a bold line that runs from the eyes to the jaw. Besides its normal pattern, the Reticulated Python also appears in mutations that are known as the Yellow Head, Albino, Calico, Super Tiger, Tiger, and Jaguar, names that reflect the coloration of the snake. The Reticulated Python can live longer than 25 years in captivity.
The Reticulated Python requires an enclosure that is at least half their size in length and a third of their length in width. They should be kept at tropical temperatures and humididty levels.
The Reticulated Python should be provided with a dish of water that is large enough for soaking.
It is important to wash your hands after feeding, to remove the scent of the food, so that your hands no longer smell like food to the snake. The Reticulated Python should be fed large rodents, such as Guinea Pigs, or rabbits. It is advised to feed frozen food rather that live to prevent accidemts. Many of the accidents with large/superlarge constricters occur during live feeding. Accidents may involve the snake and/or the keeper. Avoid moving your hands quickly or suddenly in front of the snake. It is also not advised to reach into a dark place where a hand could be mistaken by a snake as food. Lastly, it is not advised to enter or stay in a large constricter's room or cage when there are food items in the room.
The Reticulated Python is generally sexually mature between two and four years of age. They generally breed between September and March, although they usually don't breed every year. They will become receptive to breeding if the amount of light provided to the enclosure each day and the temperature are both lowered. The female Reticulated Python lays a clutch of between 25 and 80 eggs, which she incubates for between 80 and 90 days. She keeps the eggs several degrees above the ambient temperature (usually around 88 degrees Fahrenheit) by twitching her muscles as she is coiled around them.
It can be found in Borneo, Sulawesi, Ceram, Timor, Burma, Indochina, and the Nicobar Islands.
The Reticulated Python is one of the largest snakes known to man. While once very common throughout their range, their numbers are diminishing due to habitat destruction and human predation.
The solitary Reticulated Python makes its home in the humid atmosphere of tropical rainforests. They spend much of their time on or near water and rarely venture far from their preferred pond or river. They can be very aggressive feeders which, coupled with their voracious appetites, make them a threat to any prey animal that ventures near. In the wild, Reticulated Pythons can be found dining on many different mammals and birds. After a large meal, the Reticulated Python will generally remain quite inactive for an extended period of time. When eating deer and other antlered animal, the snake will sometimes devour the animal hindquarters first rather than in its usual headfirst fashion. When it reaches the antlers, it will stop eating and allow the acids in its stomach to digest the animal, waiting until the antlers break down and drop off before completing its meal. Some specimens of Reticulated Pythons, especially those snakes that were caught in the wild, can be quite aggressive. The best way to ensure your Reticulated Python is relatively non-agressive is to acquire a captive-born Python rather than a wild-caught one, and to handle it regularly. Regardless of how a Retic is aquired or raised, an adult is potentially deadly, and they are not recommended for children or people who do not have experience with very large snakes.
The Reticulated Python makes its home throughout southeastern Asia. Reticulated Pythons have long been the source of folktales that tell of snakes reaching between 50 and 150 feet in length, although no cases of these giants have been documented. The largest Reticulated Python documented, according to the 1991 Guinness Book of World Records, was recorded at almost 33 feet. This is the longest specimen of any type of snake ever documented. The New York Zoological Society offers a reward of $50,000 to any person who can find a Reticulated Python longer than 30 feet. The Reticulated Python was once quite common throughout its range. They are rapidly decreasing in numbers because over a hundred thousand of the snakes are killed each year, primarily for their skins. They are also killed by native Asian tribes that drink their blood. Reticulated Pythons are quite vulnerable to people who come across the snake in the wild and kill it simply because it is so very large.
Their large size makes them quite capable of feeding on animals as large as deer, dogs, pigs, porcupines, and monkeys, although smaller animals are content feeding on rats.