Have you ever heard of a person in business that refuses to sell his wares? No, right!
There was this pet store that our team often visited, and we saw the owner not relenting to give away a reticulated python to not one or two but three customers straight!
Naturally, our curiosity was piqued enough to enquire why he will not sell it to the customers even when they were ready to pay a premium for it. It so happens that a lot of pet stores around the area follow a procedure before selling customers the snake. It is not a written down code, but something every store follows more or less as customary.
- They do not sell it to a novice. Experience with big snakes is a sine qua non to be able to sell it to the reptile enthusiast;
- The seller must be confident that the snake will be housed and looked after well.
- Reticulated pythons don’t have the best of temperaments, and handling them is a challenge unless you are trained or have some experience behind you.
There are some fascinating facts about reticulated python that makes excellent stories in reptile enthusiast circles. We thought we’d share it here. But before that, here’s a quick introduction about the reticulated python. It will help you to put things into perspective about why they are categorized as challenging pets.
A reticulated python (Python Reticulatus) is a species of python that is mostly found in the geographical range of the South and South-Eastern Asia. It is widely seen in the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Borneo, and other Polynesian islands.
They are positively the world’s longest snake; also, the longest reptile to slither on the surface of the earth. They are not considered to be the world’s biggest built or the heaviest, though. They are often reputed to be the third-largest in the world.
The reticulated python is considered to be species of ‘least concern’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, which means that it is not immediately threatened or on the brink of extinction.
For a species to be as the least concern, it has to be widely distributed. That is quite an assurance because reticulated python is continuously being hunted down for:
- Their skin to make high-end fashion accessories
- For their role in the traditional medicines
- For sale as a pet
They belong to a family of constrictors and do not carry any venom inside them. A constricting snake will kill its prey by squeezing it by winding itself around it. However, there have been reported cases of reticulated pythons that have attacked and maimed their owners.
There are at least two well-reported cases of death of human caretakers in Indonesia. Both the incidents took place in March 2017 and in June 2018, respectively. The snakes that were a whopping 23 feet in length were later killed, and the human was found inside them.
It may contradict the fact that they are not harmful to humans. Size is a matter of concern here. If the python is huge, you must be wary of it. It can attack a human and make him its food.
3. Three Species
There are altogether three species of the reticulated python. They are
- Python Reticulates Reticulatus
- Python Reticulatus Jampeanus
- Python Reticulatus Saputhai
Of these, the first two are found in the mainland, whereas the third species is a dwarf one that is mainly found in the Selayur Archipelago. These snakes are dwarfed and grow to a maximum length of 10 to 12 feet only.
There are super dwarfs too. These are mostly found in the Northwestern Islands in Australian and grow to a length anywhere between 6 and 8 feet. The super dwarfs are caught from the wild and then actively bred in captivity. A lot of morphs are possible from the reticulated python, and they are a excellent reptile if you love to show off your collection only if they had a better temperament humph!
4. Longest Reticulated Python
The longest reticulated python is reported to be 32 feet long and weighs a good 350 pounds. A reticulated python known so because of the complicated net-like pattern on its body is widely considered the third-largest snake in the world.
The top honor is taken by the giant anaconda or the green anaconda that also incidentally belongs to the constrictor family. It does not bite its prey to kill it; it either squeezes it or drowns it before swallowing it whole.
The second-largest reptile is a fossilized one that has been excavated in Columbia in the 1990s. Titanoboa carrejonesnsis is believed to have slithered at least 60 million years ago and weighed massively about 450 pounds. Whoa!
5. Largest living Reticulated Python
The largest living reticulated python in captivity is named Medusa, and she is 25.2 feet long!! Medusa is owned by Full Moon Production Incorporated in Kansas City, in Missouri, USA. In October 2011, she was measured, and it took 15 men to hold her full length to set the record for the longest snake.
Medusa is all of 10 years, and she eats rabbits, hogs, and deer every once in a fortnight. By the way, she can finish one 40 pounds deer in one sitting. You think it is a joke to weigh 350 pounds, huh!
6. Their Food
Reticulated pythons are foodies! They are big on all kinds of carnivorous food. In the wild, the dwarfs will eat rodents and small birds while the mainland variety can eat pigs, civets, even bear cats.
In captivity, you can feed them live reptile food or pre-killed, frozen, and thawed; they love their meals fresh, so if you are offering them thawed food, trick them by double boiling it in water to warm it. Please do not use the microwave as it would cook it up from inside, and the retics would downright reject it.
The only known predator in the wild is King Cobra, which unfortunately inhabits similar habitats.