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Scientific Name: Python reticulatus
Common Names: Reticulated Python
Geographic Range: Southeastern Asia and Nearby Pacific Islands
Life Span: 15 – 20+ Years
Conservation Status: Not Evaluated (Not Threatened)
Top 10 List
1. Reticulated Pythons are often considered the largest living snakes in the world.
The average length of the reticulated python is around 10ft, however it is possible for them to grow even larger than that, in some cases they have been reported to be 30ft long! They weigh around 150 – 320 lbs, possibly even more, however it is hard to confirm for sure. There is sexual dimorphism in this species, with females tending to be larger than males.
Their colouration helps them to blend into the leaf litter on the forest floors that they inhabit. They are covered in light brown blotches that are separated by reticulations (a diamond like pattern) of blacks and dark browns, with areas of creams and yellows as well. They have a black stripe under their eyes that heads going down and backwards away from the eye, and some have a black line that goes from their nose back and down through the middle of their head. While they are not venomous snakes, they do have backwards facing teeth that help them grip onto their prey.
2. These Large Snakes Require A Water Source Near Them – As They Are Actually Fantastic Swimmers
Reticulated Pythons can be mainly found in the tropical rainforests, wetlands, and grassland forests of various parts of Asia. They need a body of water nearby their habitat, as they use the water as camouflage to hide and wait for prey. Retics are also fantastic swimmers, and have even swam to, and become established on, nearby island to their natural habitat. They thrive in temperatures of 24 – 34 degrees celsius, and are most commonly found in elevations of 5000 – 8000 feet.
3. Female Retics Can Lay Anywhere From 8 Eggs All The Way Up To Over 100 Eggs In One Clutch
Mating season for reticulated pythons is generally around February and March. Males will use vibrations to signal to females his mating status, and the female will decide whether or not she wants to mate with the male. Once they have mated females will lay a clutch of eggs, anywhere from 8 to 107 eggs at once. However, the average is usually between 25 – 50 eggs. It is thought that how much food is available to the female will help decide if she lays a clutch of eggs yearly, or every couple of years.
Once the eggs have been laid, the best temperature for them to incubate at is around 31 degrees celsius, and they will incubate for around 88 days. After those days are up they will hatch, and immediately become independent, as the parents do not stick around to raise their young. Even after they are just born hatchlings are usually already 2 feet in length.
While it is super rare parthenogenesis is possible for reticulated pythons. This means that sometimes females are able to lay eggs that will produce hatchlings, without a male present to mate with. This is thought to be possible so that the species may continue to thrive even with no males around.
4. Reticulated Python Diets Consist Of Mainly Mammals
The main food source for reticulated pythons is various mammals, and occasionally various birds. Smaller, younger retics consume mainly small rodents such as rats, while the larger adults will mainly prey upon larger mammals such as tree shrews, deer, pigs, and sometimes even primates. They have also been known to prey upon chickens, cats, and dogs when they get near human civilizations.
Like all pythons, reticulated pythons are ambush predators. They will usually lay in wait, waiting for their prey to come into striking distance. Once the prey is within striking distance, they will grab their prey and kill the prey by constriction.
5. In The Wild Reticulated Pythons Are Considered Quite Aggressive
Compared to captive bred reticulated pythons, wild retics are quite aggressive by nature. They are also regarded as one of the most intelligent snakes, recognizing their owners and seeming to be quite aware of their environment. As mentioned before, they are good swimmers, and being in the water allows the larger bodies of the retics to move easier. On land, they are most often observed using rectilinear movement as their way of getting around. They move like that by contracting their body and then unfolding in a linear motion.
6. By Leaving Pheromones On The Ground, Reticulated Pythons Are Able To Communicate With Each Other
Reticulated Pythons will communicate with other snakes by leaving pheromones on the topsoil of their habitats ground. By smelling these pheromones, other snakes are able to tell the gender, reproductive success, and age of the snake that left the scent behind.
7. Due To Their Rather Large Size, Predators Are Not Common
Reticulated Pythons are huge as far as snakes go, so their list of predators is not huge – but it does exist. The main predators of of young retics are birds such as hawks and eagles. For the larger, adult retics their main predators are crocodiles that are in the waters they swim in, as well as other large predators such as humans.
Humans have been known to hunt the reticulated pythons for two main reasons: the first is to hunt for their skin, in order to make products out of it. The second is for their meat, as such a large animal has a lot of meat to feed people. Humans will also collect reticulated pythons in order to sell them in the pet trade, and as such there is risk of damage in the process of getting them to their new destination.
8. Despite Their Massive Size, People Keep These Large Snakes As Pets
Captive breeding has changed the reputation of a reticulated python from that of an aggressive hard to handle snake, to a snake that is easy to care for, and very intelligent, with gorgeous looks. Despite their ease of care and rewarding nature of owning this snake, they are still massive and will need a ton of space. They are also extremely strong, so if this a snake you are considering purchasing, make sure you or someone you live with has the strength to control such a snake if something were to happen.
Due to their massive size and natural beauty (as well as morphs, especially the albino variety) they are also popular exhibits for zoo, bringing in many guests who want to have a look at one of the longest snakes in the world.
9. Reticulated Pythons Come In Many Types of Morphs
See some more of the beautiful morphs they come in here.
While the reticulated python has a gorgeous natural colouring, there are also an abundance of beautiful morphs that have been created over the years, with new ones constantly being worked on and improved. From beautiful yellows, corals, and whites, blotches and stripes there’s an abundance of colours and patterns that have been expertly created.
10. Reticulated Pythons Have Sometimes Been Confused For Ball Pythons In Photographs
Occasionally people confuse reticulated pythons for ball pythons. You’ll come across a photo of a reticulated python at the zoo, and it will have been labelled as a ball python. And while they are both classed as pythons, and look similar in the sense that you aren’t comparing an asian vine snake to a corn snake, they are still very different snakes. Reticulated pythons are massively larger than your typical ball python, with different patterns to their scales, as well as other small details.
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