The reticulated python is the world’s longest snake. The longest one ever measured was 33 feet in length. Truly large pythons are now hard to find in the wild.
The female lays and 30-50 eggs in hollow trees and underground chambers. Reticulated pythons are one of the few snakes that actually incubate their eggs by coiling around them to regulate the eggs’ temperature.
|Scientific name||Python reticulatus|
|Size||20 feet (6 m)|
|Weight||440 pounds (200 kg)|
|Life span||about 20 years|
|Number of eggs laid||30-50|
|Incubation||40 to 100 days|
|Size at hatching||26-35 inches (66-88 cm)|
|Age of maturity||2 to 4 years|
|Conservation status||Limited but not endangered|
Where they live
This species of python lives in tropical forests of coastal Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Burma, and Vietnam.
The python’s menu
Basically, reticulated pythons eat mammals. They’ll eat mammals as small a rat and as large as an antelope. At the zoo, pythons eat rats and young chickens.
The marks of a predator
Their large tan-brown bodies have dark, hourglass-shaped markings that camouflage the snake in its natural habitat. This camouflage allows the snake to hide and spring on unsuspecting prey that wanders across its path.
Reticulated pythons are nocturnal (active at night) and kill their prey by constriction. Constrictors coil around their prey and continuously tighten their hold to slowly suffocate the prey. Reticulated pythons are agile animals that move with ease through trees and on uneven ground. They can also swim well but they spend more time on land than in the water.
The human threat
Though not endangered, large snakes have become limited due to a worldwide market for their skin, which is made into belts, handbags, and boots.