The reticulated python has a skin pattern of irregular diamond shapes running along the back and on either side there is a series of smaller markings with light centres. The reticulated python is the largest type of snake and also the longest as 25 feet is a common size. The longest reticulated python ever recorded was 32 feet 9˝ inches earning a place in the Guinness Book of Records. They are also very long living snakes. Ages of over 25 are very common in captivity. Unlike most other snakes the reticulated python females are larger than the males. Their patterns are listed as calico, yellowhead, normal, albino, tiger, jaguar, super tiger and the island forms.
Distribution and habitat
Reticulated pythons live in tropical rainforests. They rely completely on water and live near rivers and lakes
Reticulated pythons usually mate in the first two to four years of their life. Males mate at 7 to 9 feet while the females usually breed at about 11 foot in length. They usually breed from September to March. Usually both male and female starve themselves, as they need to have the right weight for the egg to brood. The female will usually lay from 25 to 80 plus eggs, She keeps the eggs at 89 to 90 degrees for 80 to 90 days. The eggs are very large usually weighing more than 250 grams. The female python will only take care of the eggs, never bringing up the young. The female python will curl around the eggs and “shiver” providing extra warmth for the eggs. The female will protect the eggs against enemies but they abandon the eggs once they hatch.
Reticulated pythons are very aggressive. The sheer size of them means it should be treated with great respect. They are very anti-social animals, like most snakes they prefer to remain alone. They are extremely aggressive during feeding, not the entire time and are not usually confronted. Snakes caught in the wild have a hard time adjusting to captivity and often bite to avoid skin contact, leading to people thinking they are a very aggressive breed. Mistreated animals are usually very aggressive, however ones that are bred in captivity and raised properly are not aggressive.
The reticulated python is strictly carnivorous. They will usually ambush their prey, often lying in trees waiting to attack them. They will forage, but they do this rarely due to the amount of energy it needs. They feed on mammals and birds including large deer, pigs and occasionally humans. A man called R Shine discovered that the size of prey increase rapidly during growth. They can go without food for a long time – a reticulated python in Regents Park Zoo did not eat for 23 months!
This site was last updated 03-02-2007