RETICUReticulated PythonLATED PYTHONback to meet the animals
Scientific Name: Python ReticulatusClass: ReptiliaOrder: Squamata Family: Boidae Genus: Python
Description: The reticulated python, is the world’s longest reptile and one of three Old World pythons. A longer and relatively slender snake the reticulated python is characterized by a vivid pattern, light brown background with diamond shaped configuration highlighted by white spots. They primarily kill prey by constriction and have about 100 very sharp teeth that point backward for help in holding their prey.Size: Reticulated Pythons attain considerable size and bulk with some specimens exceeding 34 feet and weighing over 300 pounds. However the average adult length is 10-20 feet Life Span: It is thought possible that they can live 20 years in the wild and 20 or more years in captivityDiet: Diet:In the wild: These pythons require just a little more than their own weight in food per year minimum. Warm blooded prey, such as nesting birds, waterfowl and small to medium animals; also dogs, large deer, pigs, goats and the occasional human. However, the size of the prey that can be eaten is of course based on the size of the snake.At the Zoo: Mice and RatsGeographic Range: Its range includes coastal Southeast Asia, from Burma and the Nicobar Island east to Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, and most of the islands of the Philippines and Indonesia. The species is not known to occur on New Guinea, but does occur on most or all of the Moluccan islands.Habitat: Humid forest with temperatures ranging from 80-92F, it should be noted that these snakes are heavily dependent on water and can often be found beside small streams and ponds.Reproduction: As all pythons do, the female lays eggs and coils around them for 2 months or more. Interestingly by alternately contracting and relaxing her muscles the female python “shivers” to raise her body temperature and thus that of the eggs as well. The eggs are white or yellowish, soft, shiny and sticky allowing them to stick together which prevents drying out. The female Reticulated Python lays between 25-100 eggs, and abandons them once they hatch. The reticulated python reaches sexual maturity in 3 years in captivity. Hatchlings are over 2 feet long and may grow 2 or more feet a year or up to 6 feet in the first year of captivity.Special Adaptations: Fastest growing of the large constrictors. It has an extremely aggressive feeding response and though reticulated pythons will bite when threatened they are not confrontational. Also, the Jacobson’s organ in the roof of the mouth increases sense of smell. As a further point of interest reticulated pythons have no external ears, but they are able to pick up vibrations through their lower jaws. They do have a fairly keen sense of vision with pupils that widen at night.Behavior: The reticulated python is rather excitable and difficult to care for, but less aggressive in the wild. Some avoid daylight. They are known to occasionally fast for weeks (record fasting 570 days). The python distinguishes its prey by the way they move, by their odor and can sense warmth through heat sensing pits, the small rectangular openings in the scales on it’s lips. They tend to move better in water than on land.Current Status:In the wild: Widespread but diminishing in it’s range; taken from the wild to be killed for skins, Asian ritual of blood drinking and gall bladder removal; usually killed when encountered by humans in the wild. The CITES export quota for reticulated python skins in 2002 was 437,500.At the Zoo: We currently have one male reticulated python that is housed in the Children’s Adventure Center.Trivia: Often venerated, when Krakatoa erupted (1888) biologists found reticulated pythons were some of the first reptiles to reappear (20 years later).
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Python reticulatus Schneider, 1801, no type locality specified in original description but later designated as "Java".
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Regal python; French: Python réticulé; German: Netzpython.
This is a giant python, one of the largest snake species. Hatch-lings measure 18–35 in (46–89 cm) in length. Most adults are 12–15 ft (3.7–4.6 m), and specimens of 20 ft (6.1 m) are not uncommon.
This species occurs on the Nicobar Islands in India and throughout most of Southeast Asia from southeastern Bangladesh east to Vietnam and south through western Malaysia to Singapore. The species is widespread throughout the Philippines and Indonesia.
Throughout their extensive range, reticulated pythons can be found in a variety of habitats, including dense forest, open woodlands, rocky areas, caves, swamps, rivers, and lakes. This species is seldom found far from fresh water.
The keepers of reticulated pythons report that there is geographic variation of the temperament of this species. For example, the reticulated pythons of central Thailand and of the Lesser Sundas Islands of Indonesia can be expected to be calm and docile snakes in captivity; from other areas, such as the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, reticulated pythons are typically irritable and defensive.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Taking advantage of their large size, reticulated pythons are known to consume a wide variety of prey, including primates, pangolins, rodents, canids, felids, waterfowl, pigs, and cervids.
REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY Breeding
A reticulated python usually becomes sexually mature in its third or fourth year. At the onset of maturity, males are usually 7–10 ft (2.1–3.1 m) in length. Females become mature at 10–13 ft (3.1–4 m). The eggs of this species measure 4–5 in (10–13 cm) in length. Clutch size can exceed 100 eggs. Hatch-lings are 24–35 in (61–89 cm) in length. Babies are similar to adults in color and pattern.
Nothing is known about the numbers in the wild. More than half a million skins of reticulated pythons are harvested officially each year, and the actual numbers are likely greater. There is anecdotal evidence and reports that populations are in decline in some areas where there are active skinning businesses and in areas of dense human population, but throughout most of the range the species is believed to be holding its own.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Reticulated pythons are hunted for meat, skin, and parts for folk medicine. They also are persecuted as predators of domestic livestock and feared as predators of humans. They are common in captivity, but the large size of the species makes them unsuitable for most keepers.
Common name(s): Reticulated PythonLatin name: Python reticulatus. Native to: Indonesia, Southeast Asia, the Phillipines and other Indo-Pacific Islands.Adult size: Under normal feeding regiment, a hatchling can exceed 12 feet in two years. Captive-raised females can get over 18 feet. There are occasional specimens over 20 feet. The record for this species is 33 feet.
Life Span: Captive Life Span of 25-30 yearsEggs: Clutch 50-70 eggs. Average 60 eggs/clutch.Average incubation time: 90 daysAverage incubation temp: 88F-90F degreesAverage hatchling size: 20"-24"
Appearance: the patterns of these snakes have been likened to an oriental rug in terms of variations on a theme of gold, olive, tan, brown and dark gray blotches. The blotches are outlined in black, against a siver gray body. Reticulated pythons also have the ability to change the shades and intensity of these colors. Eye color is usually orange.What does it eat?: Hatchlings start feeding on mice and fuzzy rats. Increasing the food size as the snakes grow. Eventually you will be feeding it rabbits, small pigs and cows.. *wink* kidding...
Ease of care: Relatively easy but, they like high humidity which gets harder to provide as the snake gets larger. They are a thin skin species and have problems shedding if its too dry. Temperament: captive born babies are usually calm
Cage set up: Reticulated Pythons whould be kept in much larger cages than Burmese, preferably room-size cages for the adults.Substrate: Aspen bedding, shredded cypress or fir bark, dry cypress mulch and newspaper. Driftwood or a decorative rock should be added to aid the snake during its shed. Provide a climbing branch or two, some fake greenery, a hide box and a large water bowl for soaking. Daytime temperature of 80-90F at the warm end dropping to 73-75F at night. Under-tank heatpad are preferred over an overhead basking light.
H. Piorun ~
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1 In captivity
2 See also
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Python reticulatusSchneider, 1801
The Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus), with a maximum recorded length 33 feet , is the longest existing snake species. However, this species is relatively slender and long, and therefore not the largest: the Green Anaconda can be roughly twice as heavy at the same length.Those who work with reticulated pythons often cite an unusual level of intelligence and awareness compared to other species.
The reticulated pythons's appearance is a complex geometric pattern that incorporates numerous different colors. The back typically has a series of irregular diamond shapes which are flanked by smaller markings with light centers. This species has a wide distribution, variations of size, color, and markings. Two subspecies currently exist, Python reticulatus jampeanus (Jampea Retics), and Python reticulatus saputrai (Selayer retics). It is an egg layer that lays between 60 and 100 eggs, at an incubation temperature of 88-90 °F (31 - 32 °C) (optimal), these eggs take an average of 88 days to hatch.
Although their interactivity and beauty draws much attention, some feel they are unpredictable. Attacks are rare, but the species has been responsible for several human fatalities in both the wild and captivity. This species of snake is one of the few that have documented, but not verified, cases of eating people.  Given maximum size, it is possible, although likely exceedingly rare.
 In captivity
Reticulated pythons have increased in popularity in the pet trade largely due to increased efforts in captive breeding and selectively bred mutations such as the albino and "tiger" strains.
Inexperienced owners can enable snake escapes, sometimes causing injury to the owners themselves, other pets, and people living nearby. For the health and safety of both the snake and humans, reticulated pythons should only be kept by experienced keepers equipped to handle large constrictors. Feeding large snakes is particularly hazardous, and a second person should be available during this time to assist in any emergency or call for help.
Reticulated pythons can make great and extremely rewarding captives, but the keeper should have previous experience with large pythons to help ensure safety to both animal and keeper. They do not attack humans by nature, but will bite and possibly constrict if they feel threatened or mistake a hand for food. While not venomous, large pythons can inflict very serious bites, sometimes requiring stitches.
Several variations of the Reticulated python are currently being bred in captivity, including the tiger, super tiger, albino (white, lavender, dark lavender, and purple phase), albino tiger, albino super tiger, genetic stripe, sunfire, golden child (this morph may be soon renamed), calico, ivory/white flame, and many others.
Within the past 20 years, reticulated python farms have grown in many Asian countries, including Indonesia. It is rumored that European settlers introduced them to the region in 1558. Current estimates state that there are roughly 5,400 reticulated python farms throughout Southeast Asia. In countries such as Indonesia, reticulated pythons are said to outnumber humans 15 to 1. Native peoples first gained interest in farming them when they realized the skin could easily be sold for profit in the snake skin industry. Reticulated python skins are popular sources for purses and boots, such as the typical snake skin cowboy boot. Prada has also used reticulated python skins on some of their purses. The meat of these snakes is also considered a delicacy amongst local peoples and sells for as much at 50 USD per kilogram.
 See also
The Reticulated Python
The reticulated python gets its name from the distinctive color and pattern on its scales. According to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary the word “reticulated” is an adjective defined as “having lines intercrossed, forming a network.” It is also known as the regal python (regal is a word that refers to a king). Its scientific name is Python reticulatus.
Wild reticulated python photographed on Halmahera Island in Indonesia by David Barker © VPI
This snake is the largest species of python living today. Some people believe that the giant South American water boa, known as the anaconda may grow larger or heavier, but the longest snakes that are found in the wild or that are living in a zoo today are reticulated pythons. Reticulated python hatch from eggs. Very large females may lay over 100 eggs at a time. The eggs are white and have a soft, leathery shell. Female pythons wrap their powerful bodies around their eggs until they are ready to hatch. This behavior is known as brooding and it prevents the eggs from getting too warm or too cool. The eggs need to remain close to 89 degrees Fahrenheit during the incubation period, which lasts about eighty-five days. The young pythons emerge by cutting a slit in the eggshell with their egg tooth. Once free from the egg, they are on their own. They must use their coloration and reticulated pattern to hide from predators and to hunt for food. Some of the hatchling pythons get eaten by other animals such as hawks, wild pigs, cobras and monitor lizards. The hatchling pythons are 26 to 35 inches long and weigh only 4 to 5 ounces. From the time they hatch these snakes are also predators and they can kill and eat small mice, rats, lizards and frogs.Like all snakes, pythons have sharp teeth that are curved towards the back of their mouth. They use their 100 teeth to capture their prey by biting. Their curved teeth hold onto their prey and they kill the animals they catch by wrapping around them and squeezing. The animal is quickly unable to breath and its heart may be unable to pump blood. Pythons can kill their prey in minutes and they swallow their food whole. The entire animal is digested in the snake’s stomach except for fur or feathers, which are passed with the snakes waste.Reticulated pythons live in tropical forests on the continent of Asia. Their range extends from Myanmar and India, across Southeast Asia and on many of the islands of the Philippines and Indonesia. They are at home on the ground, in caves or in trees and they have adapted to living in towns and cities where they hunt chickens, ducks, rats and domestic cats, dogs and pigs. Large reticulated pythons have eaten monkeys, wild boar, deer and even people. There are not many cases of these pythons capturing and eating people, but it has been reported even in recent years.
Habitat of the reticulated python on Halmahera Island in Indonesia. Photograph by David Barker © VPI
Many species of snakes are hunted by people for their meat and skins, especially the reticulated python. Their large size and the distinctive pattern on their scales make their skins very popular for leather products. Their skins are made into belts, wallets, vests and boots. In the United States many western style cowboy boots are made from Reticulated python skins. Paul Hogan wore a vest made of Reticulated python skins in the movie “Crocodile Dundee” and in the animated movie “Shrek”, a row of hanging Reticulated pythons skins were used by the ogre as a room divider. Live pythons are captured in the wild and shipped to other countries where they are sold as pets or to reptile exhibits and zoos. Some very large reticulated pythons are still purchased by zoos, and some are donated to zoos by pet owners when their snakes grow to large for them to keep. Hatchling pythons are popular for some people to keep as pets or as a hobby, but they grow large. They can inflict serious bites with their long sharp teeth and some people have been killed by the very large pythons that they have raised.
The largest reticulated python ever found in the wild was reported in 1912 from the island of Celebes (now known as Sulawesi) in Indonesia. This snake measured thirty-three feet.
Very large reticulated pythons have often been kept in zoological parks around the world. Many of them refused food for long periods of time and it was common practice for zookeepers to assist or force-feed them. One specimen at the Frankfurt Zoo refused food for 679 days. Another specimen at the Frankfurt Zoo in Germany measuring 24 feet ate a pig that weighed 120 pounds.The largest snake that ever lived in a zoo was a reticulated python named Colossus. She lived at the Pittsburgh Zoo in Pennsylvania. You can find her photograph in a book entitled “The Giant Snakes” by Clifford H. Pope. The author of this classic reptile book reported that she was 22 feet long when captured in Siam (now Thailand) in 1949. Eight years later she reached the length of 28 ½ feet long. Her girth measured 37 ½ inches and her weight was estimated to be more than 320 pounds. The largest reticulated python kept in England was “Cassius”. He was sent to the Knaresborough Zoo in Yorkshire in 1972 after being captured in Malaysia. In 1978 he measured 27 ½ feet and weighed 240 pounds.A reticulated python from Sumatra named “Gina” was raised from a hatchling at the Bali Reptile Park. According the park’s director, she reached the length of 26 feet four inches in only nine years.
Clash of the Titans
In 2002, the largest reticulated pythons that we know of live in zoos in the United States. Which one is biggest? You decide!
Photograph courtesy of William Holmstrom © WCS/Bronx Zoo
In March 1993, Samantha arrived at the Wildlife Conservation Park/Bronx Zoo from the island of Borneo. She measured 21 feet three inches and weighed 155 pounds. By October 2001, her length increased to 26 feet and she has reached a weight of 275 ½ pounds. During this eight and a half year period she has eaten 63 pigs weighing a total of 1,912 pounds.
Photograph courtesy of Al Kardon © San Antonio Zoo
Marcy was brought to the United States from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 1990. She was raised by Dave and Tracy Barker. The Barkers are both herpetologists, scientists that study reptiles and amphibians. Marcy grew to be 12 feet long by the time she was a year old. By 1994 Marcy had reached a length of nineteen feet and weighed 150 pounds. The Barkers sent her to the San Antonio Zoo in Texas. She is now over 25 feet long and her weight is estimated to be somewhere between 225 and 275 pounds. She is fed one pig weighing between 20 and 50 pounds every two or three months.
Photograph courtesy of Bob Clark © 2002
Fluffy is one of the largest reticulated pythons held in captivity that is not living in a zoo. She was raised by Bob Clark. Bob Clark is a herpetologist from Oklahoma that works in the field of herpetoculture. Herpetoculture is the raising and breeding of reptiles and amphibians. Fluffy was born in captivity and is thirteen years old. She has reached a length of 24 feet and a weight of 310 pounds.
Unusual Reticulated Pythons
Like many reptiles, reticulated pythons are sometimes born with unusual colors and patterns on their scales.
These three photographs are courtesy of Bob Clark© 2002
There is still a lot for us to learn about reticulated pythons. They are a source of food for other animals and an important predator in their natural habitat. They have value to people as a source of leather and meat. These giant snakes are not considered to be an endangered species, but their future survival may be threatened by over-hunting and a loss of their natural habitat.
Written by Bruce Shwedick©2002 Reptile Discovery Programs
REFERENCES:Barker, D. & T. & McKurley, K. 1999. The Reproductive Husbandry of the Reticulated Python. Reptiles Magazine. Vol. 7. No. 11. November. Guinness World Book of Records. 1978 ED. New York: Sterling. Murphy, J.C. & Henderson, R.W. 1997. Tales of Giant Snakes. Florida: Kreiger. 221 pp.Pope, C.H. 1961. The Giant Snakes. New York: Alfred Knopf. 290 pp.Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language. 1966. Massachusetts: G. & C. Merriam Co.