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Reticulated Python

Python reticulatus (aka Regal Python)

Description

This snake is easily distinguished by its huge size and the series of irregular diamond shapes positioned dorsally along the back, usually flanked with smaller markings which have light centers. The head of this species is unmarked with only a conspicuous line running from each eye to the angle of the jaws.

reticulated python

The longest snake in the world, the reticulated python reguarly reaches lengths of 25 feet or more (the longest specimen ever recorded was caught in 1912 and measured 33 feet). Although it can weigh up to 350 pounds, it is second to the green anaconda when it comes to overall mass.

Distribution and Habitat

The reticulated python is found throughout the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, from India to Vietnam, south down the Malay Peninsula, and on many of the Philippine and Indonesian islands.

Heavily dependent on water, it is often found near small rivers or ponds. It is equally at home on the ground and in trees, and has also adapted to living in towns and cities.

Reproduction

Sexual maturity is reached in the first 2-4 years. Males breed at 7-9 feet, while females are typically 11 feet before they become receptive.

Breeding usually takes place between the months of September and March. Both males and females may fast during this time, and fasting may last up until the eggs are laid in the case of females, and most probably until the eggs have hatched. Females usually lay 25-80 large, white, leathery eggs (with 100 or more not being uncommon). The eggs are brooded by the female for 80-90 days, during which time she will aggressively defend them against predators. Once the eggs hatch, however, the hatchlings are on their own.

Diet

Although reticulated pythons have been known to actively seek out prey, they are most effective as ambush predators. Smaller snakes may lie in wait in trees, while larger ones tend to camouflage themselves within the leaf litter on the ground. The size of prey increases dramatically as the snake gets larger, and adults are quite capable of taking down deer, pigs, and even humans (although the latter is a fairly rare occurrence). Captured prey is held by the snake's 100 or so backward-facing sharp teet, and killed by constriction.

Scientific Classification

Phylum Chordata
Subphylum Vertebrata
Class Reptilia
Order Squamata
Suborder Serpentes
family Pythonidae
genus & species Python reticulatus

SOURCES
Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Python_reticulatus/
Reptile Discovery www.reptilediscovery.com/retic.html

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The Robinson Library >> Science >> Zoology >> Reptiles and Amphibians >> Suborder Serpentes

This page was last updated on June 15, 2017.