The reticulated python is the world's longest snake, and also the largest snake native to Asia. It ranges in natural length from 1.5 to 7 metres. Snakes exceeding 6 metres in length are rare, but the reticulated python is likely the most common species of python to exceed this length. One captive python named Medusa has been claimed to be 30 feet long, but this length has not been officially confirmed. Reticulated pythons are more slender than other constrictors. Notably, a reticulated python of the same length as a green anaconda would weigh only slightly more than half as much as the bulkier, thicker-bodied anaconda.
The python's colour pattern is a complex, intricate pattern that uses many different colours and a large array of shapes. The pattern often forms diamond shapes. In the species' notably wide geographic range, there is a wide variation in colours and shapes, most of which are disruptive patterns which hide the python among dead leaves, the ground and trees, and allow the python to ambush prey much more easily.
The reticulated python lives in Southeast Asia from the Nicobar Islands, northeast India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore, east through Indonesia and the Indo-Australian Archipelago (Sumatra, the Mentawai Islands, the Natuna Islands, Borneo, Sulawesi, Java, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, Timor, Maluku, Tanimbar Islands) and the Philippines (Basilan, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Polillo, Samar, and Tawi-Tawi). The snake has also been introduced to Florida, where it has become invasive, but not as much so as the Burmese python.
The reticulated python lives in rainforests, woodlands, and grasslands. It can also be found near rivers and lakes. An excellent swimmer, it has been spotted far out at sea and has even naturally colonised many islands within its range.
FeedingEditThe reticulated python is a constrictor, and feeds mostly on mammals, and occasionally birds and reptiles. Small pythons mainly eat rodents such as rats, while large snakes may consume Viverridae, and even primates and pigs. Among the largest fully documented prey are a half-starved 23kg sun bear that was found in a 6.95m specimen and took around 10 weeks to digest, and pigs of more than 60kg. As a general rule, the reticulated python can swallow animals up to a quarter of its length and equal to its own weight.
The reticulated python, while widely feared and easily capable of killing adult humans, poses little threat, though care should still be taken around them.