SPECIES: PYTHON RETICULATUS
IUCN REDLIST: NOT EVALUATED
Reticulated pythons can be found throughout Southeast Asia. Their range includes the Nicobar Islands, Burma through Indochina, and Borneo, Sulawesi, Ceram and Timor in the Malay archipelago. Reticulated pythons live in a biome of steamy tropical rainforests. These snakes are heavily dependent on water and can often be found near small rivers or ponds. They prosper in tropical environments with temperatures in the range of 26 to 33 degrees Celsius. This highly adaptable python species occurs in a wide range of habitats from lowland to lower montane forests (up to elevations of at least 1500 metres above sea level), agricultural areas, scrublands and mangrove edge. In cities, such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, they are often found in drainage channels in urban areas.
The Reticulated Python have a characteristic reticulated pattern of browns, greys and yellows in a broken zigzagging shape. There are parallel lateral rows of pale spots with off parts of dark pigments. Some populations have an elongated head with vivid yellow. The vivid yellow is sometimes emphasized by a black line running right down the center of the crown. The snake is considered the longest of all snakes and can grow between 5-7 metres. Most reticulated pythons never reach this length, as their growth would be limited by a lack of availability of large prey.
All pythons are non venomous constrictors and the reticulated python is also an excellent swimmer. Reticulated pythons have a reputation of being aggressive. As with most snakes, the Reticulated Python is non-social and prefers to be solitary. This particular python is perceived as aggressive due to its aggressive feeding response. As the snake is popular in the pet trade; wild caught snakes do not adjust well to captivity and often bite to avoid interaction, leading to the misinterpretation that this is an aggressive animal. They wait and ambush their prey and then they wrap around it to cut off the airways. It can take a very long time for them to digest a meal so they usually only eat every few weeks.
Reticulated pythons mature (able to breed) at about 2-4 years of age. Males breed at sizes of 2-2.5 metres, whilst females typically at 3.3metres. Breeding usually occurs between September and March in the wild. Reproduction is oviparous so females lay eggs. Female Reticulated Pythons, depending on size, lay from 50 to 124 eggs that take from 65-105 days to incubate. The offspring are from 0.5-0.6m long. Once eggs are hatched the hatchlings are left by the mother to fend for themselves. There is no involvement of the father.
ECOSYSTEM ROLE & HUMAN BENEFITS
The reticulated python has an important role as a population regulator but due to their size they can control the population of larger animals. They are hugely beneficial on islands when domesticated animals like cats are introduced as they do not have any predators and kill much of the local wildlife for sport. The python can and will consume larger prey like cats. their beautiful skin patterns have made them huge in the fashion industry as bags and fancy shoes, they are locally killed and eaten for meat much of this is also lead by fear. They are also popular in the pet trade as mentioned previously when talking about their behaviour.
Like most wild animals the negative impacts to their population is habitat loss as countries become more developed the natural landscape changes. Their other impact is from poaching and skinning for money.
The reticulated python is famous for being the longest snake in the world. One specimen named “Colossus” at the Highland Park Zoo in the early 1960’s was reported to be 8.7 metres at the time of being alive. Its skeleton however is only 6.35 metres.
** This data set was written by Luke Anning of Bournemouth University, England and edited by Stephanie Young**
***Identification of these species has been made through, photographic documentation cross referenced with external specialists and identification books. Any errors in our database will be rectified upon notification, if you feel that we have misidentified any species please help us to improve our research through our contact us page. All people involved will be acknowledge in the website and reports***
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