Reticulated pythons (scientific name python reticulatus) are from southeast Asia, from India to the Philippines and Indonesia. In the world of herpetology, they’re called retics or tics. They are the world’s longest snake.
Reticulated pythons are suitable for experienced snake handlers only. As powerful constrictors, they command serious respect when being handled. They’re more expensive to feed and require huge enclosures. They live for an average of 20-30 years.
The comprehensive guide details everything from the morphs available, to how to feed and house a retic. Let’s get started by finding out all of the facts about reticulated pythons.
A Care Guide for Reticulated Pythons as Pets
Reticulated pythons are a particular species, not a family of snakes. Compare to hognose snakes, for example, which are many different species.
They grow massive and are most definitely NOT a beginner snake. They are intelligent, and are excellent swimmers, but require time, attention and proper care.
And if you’re wondering, the name reticulated is a description of their pattern. It comes from the Latin for small net and refers to the net-like pattern along their back.
Reticulated Pythons Morphs
There are a few retic morphs available. Morphs are different patterns and colorations that breeders have managed to create through selective breeding.
Albinos are an example of a morph—they’re the same as other retics, except for their coloration, which is much lighter or completely white in the case of a ‘snow’ morph.
Let’s take a look at the most common reticulated python morphs:
|Retic Morph||Snake Colors and Patterns|
|Tiger Reticulated Python:||Tiger retics are a morph where the pattern is stretched and elongated so that it looks like a stripe. Depending on the morph, the pattern could be a little longer, or it could be a complete set of stripes reaching from head to tail. Crossbreeding can also make them orange.|
|Albino Reticulated Python:||Albino retics aren’t pure white like you might imagine. They range from white and orange to entirely white. They also have red or pink eyes.|
|Ivory Reticulated Python:||Ivory retics aren’t entirely white. They’re more commonly a light orange and white color. Because of their genetics, they don’t have the same red eyes like an albino.|
|Motley Reticulated Python:||Motley retics are similar to your regular reticulated python, with a slightly different pattern. They have circles or bullseyes along their top and may have little or no side pattern.|
|Pied Reticulated Python:||Pied retics have a mix between wholly white and an accent color, which varies depending on their breeding. The accent can either be dark (like their normal coloration) or light orange. Pied pythons can have either a cow-like pattern of spots, a two-tone effect of top color vs. bottom color, or a mixture of both.|
Like all popular snakes, there are dozens of morphs. Not only are there more unique morphs than just these five, but there are breeds between different morphs, like albino pied retics, whose accent color is orange instead of dark.
Reticulated Python Length
How big do reticulated pythons get? They’re so big that nobody’s sure how big they can grow.
This is in large part because they live in rainforests and jungles in remote parts of the world. Plus, few biologists are brave enough to head out into those jungles with a measuring tape and get up close and personal with the world’s biggest snakes.
- The Guinness World Record for the longest snake ever kept in captivity was Medusa, a 25-foot-long retic. Regarding the biggest snake ever period, they claim that a specimen found in Indonesia back in 1912 measured over 32 feet, although we don’t have photos or evidence of it.
- A more recent python captured in Malaysia measured 26 feet, although the snake died very soon after it was caught.
That being said, most retics won’t grow to such an enormous length. The majority of captive adults grow to between ten and twenty feet. Of course, that’s still plenty long enough, and more than enough to place retics out of the ‘beginner snake’ range.
Dwarf Reticulated Python Length
Snake morphs were bred by people, by figuring out snake genetics and breeding relevant pairs together. That’s why you can have albino snakes, hypomelanistic snakes and more.
You might think that we selectively bred dwarf reticulated pythons so that they’re smaller than the ones found in the wild, but that’s not the case. They’re imported from islands to the north-west of Australia, in Indonesia.
Dwarf reticulated python size maxes out at between ten and twelve feet, which is much smaller than the average retic. They’re also thinner and lighter, but in other ways, they look the same.
You can purchase dwarf retics or ‘superdwarf,’ but they’re also known by other names including Kayuadi retics and Kalatoa retics. They’re named after the islands they were first imported from.
Strictly speaking, they’re not dwarfs, which is a congenital (genetic) condition. They’re just smaller than other reticulated pythons. However, the name stuck and does make sense in that they’re the smallest of the bunch.
Reticulated Python Growth Rate
Reticulated pythons can grow very large, and fast. But their growth rate is determined by how much and how often you feed them.
If you feed them right, your reticulated python can grow up to a foot per month. Not all retics have the genetics to reach the maximum known size and will grow more slowly.
You’re more likely to see your python grow 6 to 7 feet in their first year if you feed them according to a proper diet plan, or up to 10 feet with heavy feeding.
After their first year, their growth rate slows down. They can hit eight feet in their first year, but their growth will then slow down, and they can hit ten or eleven feet by the time they turn two years old.
Afterward, they’ll grow about two or three feet a year. Of course, this depends on the individual, as well as the breed. If you own a dwarf retic, they won’t grow as big, or as fast.
You can control their growth rate by spreading out their feeds, or by feeding them more food.
Reticulated Python Shedding
Retics shed just like other snakes. When they’re young, they will shed every four to six weeks. They’ll shed more often if you power feed them, and less often if you feed them less often than we recommend below. Like all snakes, they’ll try and shed all of their skin in one go.
If they can’t quite manage an entire shed, follow standard procedure:
- Increase the humidity in their enclosure before a shed, 60% is ideal
- Offer them a moist hide before their shed proper
- Offer them something rough to rub against and start their shed with, e.g., a brick
- If they can’t shed, wash them with a wet washcloth, pillowcase or similar
- If they still struggle, bathe them in a bathtub
Once their skin is less dry, it should peel away much easier. You may need to rub them with a towel to peel away any that remains.
Pay special attention to their eye caps and tail skin, as these are the hardest parts to remove. If they don’t come off, your snake risks blindness/blood loss and necrosis, respectively.
Reticulated Python Temperament and Behavior
Reticulated pythons are highly intelligent, which means that they’re rewarding pets to keep.
However, it also means that you have to keep them from getting bored, either with regular handling or with large-enough enclosures that they can move around. Since they’re very intelligent, it would be cruel to leave them on their own, bored, 24/7.
It’s crucial that you raise a neonate (newly born) retic. As with all snakes, they can’t bond with you in the same way that a regular or mammalian pet can.
They’ll never enjoy cuddles or interactions in the same way that you do, or that you can with other pets. You have to understand that, and respect them, and their personal space.
Retics have a terrible reputation, but you have to bear in mind that this reputation comes from wild-caught specimens. As captives, they won’t threaten you unless you threaten them, like most snakes.
How to Tame Reticulated Pythons
Captive-bred hatchlings are the easiest to tame. You don’t have to ‘tame’ them. They get used to you gradually. If you get a snake from a shop, there’s a chance that they might require kid gloves.
The idea that you have to tame retics comes from twenty or thirty years ago when they first hit the market.
These first snakes were wild-caught at a year or two old, placed in a cage for the first time in their life and shipped halfway across the world. Of course, they were grumpy. Captive-bred snakes don’t have this life history, so they are calmer and happier.
To get your snake used to you, take them out of their enclosure regularly. Your goal should be to handle a young retic often so that they can get used to you, and won’t see you as a threat.
Cage Aggression in Reticulated Pythons
Cage aggression is where a snake doesn’t like being touched, handled or even come close to when they’re in their enclosure.
This can make it difficult for you to interact with them, either handling them, feeding them or even just getting to know them and being close to them.
Are retics aggressive? Generally speaking, no. The vast majority of retic owners report that their snakes are gentle giants, and much better behaved than other large species like rock pythons.
They may get a little cage aggressive, but if you know how not to escalate a situation and make it worse, this won’t be a problem. This is due to three key reasons:
- You have to know what you’re doing when you handle a larger snake. If you go out of your way to tease it, annoy it or mistreat it, of course, it’s going to get aggressive. That’s not because the snake is bad-tempered, it’s because it doesn’t like the way you’re treating it. That’s why it’s crucial that you’re confident and experienced with snakes before you get one this large.
- It depends on when you purchased your retic. Did you get them when they were a neonate (just hatched) and raise them well? Or have you bought an adult that may have lived with somebody else before? If they were raised by somebody else, you don’t know whether they were raised well or not. These snakes might be more aggressive.
- You have to be careful around any snake of this size. Due to their size alone, they’re dangerous.
Are Reticulated Pythons Dangerous?
Reticulated pythons aren’t a domesticated animal. Due to their size and nature, they can pose a threat to anybody, even their owner.
Reticulated pythons are huge. That alone makes them far more dangerous than a two-foot hognose snake. They’re powerful and strong constrictors, and they’re more than strong enough to constrict you.
Every now and again, you’ll see in the news that an owner or even a house guest was attacked by one. Take this woman from Virginia who was asphyxiated by her 13-foot long retic, for example.
Are Reticulated Pythons Venomous?
While retics are powerful constrictors, they aren’t venomous. They hunt not by chasing prey, but by waiting silently before prey comes to them. When an unknowing prey animal comes too close, they strike quickly and envelop them in their coils. This can kill an animal in a matter of seconds by cutting off the blood supply.
The pressure of the snake’s coil is so much that the heart stops pumping. At first, it tries to carry on but quickly finds that it can’t get blood to any of the furthest points of the body, these being the hands, feet, arms, and legs.
As the pressure increases, the blood pressure goes up and up until the heart can’t handle anymore. It stops beating entirely, although this doesn’t mean that the animal is dead, per se.
The brain will still be alive for a little while afterward, although the animal loses consciousness very quickly. It sounds like a horrible way to go.
How Fast Can a Reticulated Python Move?
Reticulated pythons aren’t fast. That’s because they never needed to chase prey. Since they can wait for months on end between meals, they can afford to wait for prey to come to them.
When they’re crawling along the ground, retics move at a stately 1mph. For reference, our average walking speed is 3.1mph. A sloth moves at 0.1mph.
They can swim a little faster than they can move on land, and they’re very comfortable in the water. If you have a swimming pool at home, you can test them out and see how quickly they can go.
Nobody has studies exactly how fast a retic can strike, but general research into snake striking (plus some basic observation) shows how fast they can be.
According to the Smithsonian, snakes can accelerate with a force of 20Gs, whereas fighter pilots experience about 9Gs. A rattlesnake can strike at over 600mph, and while retics aren’t that fast, they can strike at you before you know it.
How Does a Reticulated Python Protect Itself?
Like all snakes, retics become defensive if they feel threatened.
The first thing you’ll notice is that your retic will get into a defensive position where they’re coiled. This is the striking position.
All snakes adopt this position before they bite because it means they can very quickly get from where they are, to where you are, just by extending their body rapidly. You might notice that your defensive retic is holed up in a corner, coiled up, for example.
If you notice that your reticulated python is getting defensive, leave them be for a while. If they’re in a corner and you keep crowding them, they’ll get stressed out, which is the last thing you want.
If you have to touch them, use a hook and either:
- Pick them up to take them out/put them back into their enclosure.
- Move them out of the corner, so that they don’t feel so hemmed in.
Reticulated pythons love small enclosed places. The only thing they don’t like is if they’re threatened when they’re in one.
Can Reticulated Pythons Eat People?
Reticulated pythons have been known to eat their owners.
Of course, this doesn’t happen often. But that’s because they aren’t a commonly owned pet and because they haven’t been kept in captivity for long.
The majority of stories are a) historical and b) from the other side of the world, and the stories are embellished in the face of a lack of evidence.
Take the story of a 49-foot snake captured in Indonesia, which when measured by Western journalists turned out to be a less impressive 22 feet long.
However, more recent stories have been verified.
An Indonesian woman was killed and eaten by a retic. The snake was captured and killed, and the woman’s body found inside.
There was also the woman from Virginia that we referenced earlier, although she wasn’t eaten since the snake was too small. Long story short, it can, and does happen.
That’s why you must learn how to handle and care for them properly, even if only a dwarf retic.
How to Handle a Reticulated Python
Reticulated pythons are challenging to handle. You need specialist equipment, and you need prior experience with snakes, or you’ll struggle.
Like we said above, things are going to be a lot easier for you if you have your snake from when they’re just hatched.
Over the months and years, they’ll get used to you, and will recognize that you’re not a threat. Proper handling techniques are all related to not presenting yourself as a threat, which is what the next section is all about.
When to Handle a Reticulated Python
Before you do anything, make sure your python is in the right mood for being handled. There are two main moods that a python, or any snake, can be in. These are as follows:
- A calm mood. If your snake is calm, they’ll be moving about their enclosure and occasionally flicking their tongue out.
- A nervous mood. If your snake is nervous, they’ll be moving jerkily and poking their tongue out more often/all the time.
You should also avoid handling your retic either before or after they eat. Retics have a very strong feeding response, which is because they’re ambush predators.
A feeding response is what they do when they see prey (i.e., eye it up, and then strike). You don’t want to be on the receiving end of that. And if you try and handle them after they eat, there’s a chance that they might regurgitate their food. That’s not good.
Handling Reticulated Pythons
These handling techniques apply whether you’re handling a dwarf or a full-size reticulated python:
- If your snake appears threatened when you want to handle them, leave them be for a while. Try again in a while.
- If your snake is still threatened, let them sniff your hand and get used to you before you try picking them up. They’ll understand you’re not a threat.
- When you do get the chance to handle your snake, touch them in the middle of their body, not their head/face or tail.
- Be calm but confident when you handle them. Don’t hesitate or show them that you’re scared.
When it comes to handling large reticulated pythons, this is a little more difficult than handling your average snake. You have to understand that a snake this big is genuinely very powerful, and can’t be told what to do.
If your snake wants to slither off to investigate something interesting, they’re going to do it. Unless you’re confident and strong, then you might have a tough time ‘convincing’ them to sit still. Aside from that, live by the following tips:
- It’s best to handle any snake longer than, say, 13 feet with a partner. Pick somebody confident with snakes and take one end each.
- If your snake starts to constrict around you—and sometimes they do, just out of habit—unravel them from the tail upwards. Their midriff is too heavy and strong to move.
- Keep a spray bottle containing alcohol, e.g., vodka nearby. If the snake bites, spray into their mouth, and they should release their bite.
If you have to call a paramedic, they won’t be able to help. They don’t receive training in dealing with huge pythons, so it’s your responsibility to prevent problems from occurring.
Reticulated Python Handling Equipment
Regarding equipment, the first thing you need is a high-quality hook. This will prevent most potential problems. It might not be necessary with a smaller snake, but even with a dwarf retic, your snake will be long and difficult to handle. A hook does a lot of hard work for you, including:
- Gauging how cage-aggressive your snake is before you take them out of their enclosure
- Helping you take them out of their enclosure
- Moving them out of a defensive position, e.g., if they’re coiled in a corner and perceive you as a threat moving towards them
As such, if your snake is a few feet long, the first thing you’ll need on your list is a quality hook. Make sure that the one you buy is thick and solid, and designed for snakes as large as a retic.
Don’t buy one that’s for, say, larger corn snakes by mistake. Bear in mind that even the heaviest hooks won’t be able to directly lift your snake once they get to thirteen feet or more, as they’ll be too heavy.
How Often Should You Handle a Retic?
If you purchased a neonate, you’re going to want to handle them often once they’re used to you.
Handling is the best way to build a relationship, as much as that can be done, with a snake. Regular handling will prove to your snake that you’re not a threat, that you’re quite nice and caring, and that there’s no need for them to be defensive.
They won’t grow to love you like other pets, but they’ll respect you if you respect them, and they’ll be curious, inquisitive and rewarding pets.
You should handle a retic once every day. Retics need more frequent handling than other snakes because of their innate intelligence. If your retic is comfortable, handle them multiple times a day.
What Do Reticulated Pythons Eat?
Reticulated pythons are constrictors. They aren’t venomous.
In the wild, reticulated pythons have a varied diet. They usually eat small mammals, including rabbits, rats, and small primates they find in the jungle.
When they live close to human settlements, they snatch pigs, chickens, cats, and dogs. Because of their size, they tend to eat larger prey that will fill them for months rather than continually snacking on smaller prey items.
A captive reticulated python diet can easily replicate their wild diet. Depending on the size of your snake, you could feed them XL mice or rabbits.
As a smaller snake, you can feed them mice proportionate to their size. Let’s find out what you should be feeding your retic, and how often.
Reticulated Python Diet
If you’re starting with a neonate, the diet in their first year is incredibly important. It’s down to you how big they might grow in the end, which is a big responsibility.
The more you feed them, the longer they’ll get. But bear in mind that they’ll grow bigger than most snakes whatever you choose to feed them. Here’s how much you should feed them at each age.
- As hatchlings, retics would happily eat every day. They grow very quickly, so they would eat all the food they can get. Feed a hatchling a large mouse or a rat pup of 30g every four days.
- Once they reach a year old, feed your retic either two jumbo rats or one rabbit every two to four weeks. In the wild, retics regularly go without eating for months on end, so while this might seem odd at first, it’s best for them.
As a rule, feed your retic food that’s the same width as the biggest part of its body. So, if your snake’s middle is four inches across, you can feed them food that’s four inches across. If you plan on feeding your snake more, feed it a higher quantity of prey items rather than bigger prey items.
Bear in mind that this isn’t a definitive guide. Most retic owners create a schedule for themselves and use that. If you follow the guide above, your snake will grow to seven or eight feet in their first year—the average for a retic.
Learn how to assess your animal’s weight. Keep an eye on their body shape. If your snake’s body is slightly concave with a ridge running along their back, they’re underweight, and you should feed them more.
Don’t worry, because this can be rectified quite quickly. If your snake’s body looks plump in the middle, feed them less/less often.
Retic Feeding Tips
Feeding a snake usually is easy, but we’re talking about a potentially 20-foot snake here. So, how do you feed a retic safely and securely?
- You should only feed your retic pre-killed food. This is the safest for your snake. A rabbit or rat doesn’t pose any direct harm to a snake, but a little thing like a scratch to their eye from a rabbit’s claw could become infected, for example.
- At first, you should feed your snake with tongs or tweezers. This prevents the snake from over-reaching and accidentally giving you a nip on the fingers. Only feed your snake by hand once you trust them, and they’re used to you.
- You should wear gloves when you handle prey. Alternatively, wash your hands immediately after you ever handle prey. The last thing you want is for your fingers to smell like a dead mouse—or in other words, for them to smell like a tasty treat.
Aside from that, feed your retic as you would any other snake. Don’t overcomplicate the process.
Breeding Reticulated Pythons
When breeding retics, it’s best to cool the temperature in the female’s enclosure. When she stops eating, another sign of low temperature, that’s when she’ll start getting ready to breed.
She’ll start giving off the appropriate pheromones at this time. In return, the male will use vibrations to show that he’s ready, too.
It’s essential to start by lowering the temperature because a female that doesn’t want to mate won’t want to. She may even harm the male by thrashing around and pushing him away.
After lowering the temperature, move the male to the female’s enclosure. If the female doesn’t seem happy, remove the male immediately.
Then, in terms of the mechanics of mating, retics are quite similar to other snakes. The male will clamber on top of the female, and rub his body on top of her.
He’ll rub her with his spurs, which are his vestigial hind legs—little tiny stumps that are a leftover of when they used to have legs.
The female will then lift her tail as a sign that she’s ready to breed. They’ll then breed, and the male’s sperm will fertilize the female’s eggs, just like in other animals.
Retics usually breed from September to November, when they’re in the wild, but when they’re in an enclosure, they’ll happily breed at any time of year.
Retics are oviparous, which means that they lay eggs. Egg incubation is at about the same temperature as usual in the basking side of their enclosure, 90 degrees.
How Much Do Reticulated Pythons Cost?
Reticulated pythons cost much more than your average snake. They’re a big commitment.
A reticulated python will cost $125-$150, and that’s if you’re not buying a rare morph.
So, your initial outlay is going to be higher than it otherwise would be on a smaller, beginner snake. But the true cost of your snake isn’t just in the snake itself. Their enclosure, as well as the continued cost of feeding them, is where the real cost lies.
Reticulated Python Enclosure
You have to remember that a retic’s enclosure will have to be much bigger than your average snake’s. Even if you buy a dwarf retic, they’re going to grow to between ten and twenty feet depending on how much you feed them and how often.
A baby retic can grow ten feet in a year, so there’s no point buying a tiny ‘starter enclosure’ for them. You have to go big, right from the start.
To house a retic, you’ll need a minimum of a 6 to 8-foot-long enclosure. For a dwarf retic, you’ll need a 4 to 5 foot enclosure.
You should also consider purchasing an enclosure with a lock. Retics are inquisitive and will happily try and escape from their enclosure every now and again.
While you could get away with a two-foot snake like a hognose getting loose, letting even a 10-foot-long dwarf loose would put both the snake and anyone they happen to encounter at risk.
Reticulated pythons also need between 50-60% humidity, so get an enclosure that holds onto humidity well. An enclosure made of glass is a good option. Remember, they come from the jungles of southeast Asia, which are a humid environment.
Enclosure Environment for Retics
If your enclosure doesn’t hold onto humidity well, use a substrate (bedding) that does. Something like bark/wood chips would be a good idea if your enclosure isn’t humid enough, and regularly spray until it’s at the right level.
If your enclosure is humid enough, you can use practically anything. Paper towels or newspaper are good choices because they’re easy to clean, not to mention the fact that they’re much cheaper.
Retics aren’t burrowers like, say, hognoses. That means they don’t need a very deep layer of substrate that they can hide in, such as aspen.
Regarding heating and lighting, retics are simple to take care of. Keep their basking area at a temperature of 89-90 degrees, and the cooler end of their enclosure at 84.
They don’t need much of a temperature variation because they’re from close to the equator, where temperatures don’t vary too much. Night-time temperature should be between 75 and 80 degrees.
Retics don’t require lighting, either UV or otherwise. However, it doesn’t hurt them either and may be required for you to see inside their enclosure. Keep them in a well-lit room.
Some owners report that keeping one end of their tank dark, e.g., by covering it with card helps keep retics calm because they feel less vulnerable. Retics don’t require hides, either, although they may use one given the option.
Reticulated Python Health Problems
Retics can develop health problems, like any other snake. They’re mostly related to poor care. One of the first signs of poor health in retics is if they start to push their head against their enclosure. This is a sign that something’s wrong. It could be their environment, or it could be a health problem like the following.
1) Respiratory Issues
Respiratory issues in snakes are the same as those in humans. They are often caused by very low temperatures in their enclosure.
You may notice that they start to wheeze, open their mouth to breathe and lift their head more than usual. They may also foam at the mouth. If this occurs, take them to a vet for antibiotics.
If they aren’t, it’s a sign that the pet store doesn’t uphold hygiene standards. Mites and parasites pass through direct contact, or if you forget to wash your hands after handling another snake.
3) Inclusion Body Disease
IBD (inclusion body disease) is a novel infection spreading throughout snake-owning communities. It’s a viral disease that causes paralysis and weakness, loss of appetite, star-gazing (a fixed upward stare) and ulcers.
It can also cause strange symptoms such as your snake curling around in a corkscrew and losing their balance.
Other problems include mouth rot/infection, egg binding, dermatitis/blisters, and stomatitis. If you think your retic has a health issue, speak with a vet immediately.
Reticulated Pythons Interesting Facts
As an exceptionally long snake, there is a lot that’s interesting about reticulated pythons. But their enormous size isn’t the only thing that’s cool about them. Below are five interesting facts that you can use to impress even the most knowledgeable snake owners.
1) They’re an Invasive Species
Reticulated pythons scare Indonesian farmers, even eating them, according to reports. But, what about if that threat was closer to home?
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew hit Florida. It caused untold damage, and part of that damage was that it destroyed a snake breeding facility.
Over 900 snakes escaped, and ever since have been breeding in the Everglades. They’ve heavily affected local wildlife, mostly by eating it.
Unfortunately, like all invasive species, locals are encouraged to get rid of them using any means necessary, and there’s a bounty for each one you kill.
Because this hit the news, the import of several species of python was outlawed, although this has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
Reticulated pythons—either from this initial event or owners releasing them—are still regularly found in the Everglades, where they’re one of the main predators around.
2) Retic Gestation Period
Retics are easy to breed because they’re less seasonal than other snakes. That’s because they come from Indonesia and nearby, which is on the equator, where the seasons are less noticeable.
As such, there’s no one time of year that they have to breed. In North America, though, they’re more likely to breed in fall or winter and lay eggs in winter or spring.
Despite being so much bigger, their eggs don’t gestate for much longer. It’ll only be another 80 days or so until you’ve got baby retic mouths to feed.
3) They Aren’t the Biggest Snake Ever
Reticulated pythons are the longest snakes alive today. But that doesn’t mean that they were the biggest ever.
If you take a look at the fossil record, there was a much bigger snake that was alive about 40 million years ago. When it was discovered in 1901, it was named Gigantophis garstini, after the fact that it was so huge.
Based on the vertebrae geologists found, they estimated that it would have reached 35 feet in length. That would make them bigger than the longest known retic, although not by much. And, for a hundred years, we thought that this was the biggest snake that ever lived.
But in 2009, another extinct snake was discovered that was even longer and lived even longer ago. The Titanoboa carrejonensis is an extinct species from 60 million years ago that lived in the earliest South American jungles.
Scientists think it could reach 42 feet long and an incredible 2,500 lbs, which is even more impressive. They also believe it lived mostly on fish, and that it could reach such a large size because of the warmer temperatures in the ancient rainforest in which it lived.
4) Reticulated Snakes Have 100+ Teeth
Retics, like all snakes, are strictly carnivorous. And because they’re not venomous, they’ve developed teeth that are perfect for hunting prey.
Retics have over a hundred teeth. These teeth are curved backward into their mouth so that any prey they catch has a more difficult time breaking free. That’s how they can keep prey still as they wrap themselves around it.
Once prey is bitten, it’s as good as dead. And, like all snakes, retics swallow their prey whole. It’s even more impressive that they can, considering they’ve been known to eat deer.
5) Reticulated Pythons Can Eat Bears
Retics in the wild are dangerous creatures. They’re so dangerous that they can eat fully grown bears.
You don’t get polar bears or big brown bears in Southeast Asia. It’s not their habitat. But you do get a species called ‘sun bears,’ which are a threatened species that live in tropical rainforests.
Unfortunately, not only are they threatened, but their population is declining rapidly. That’s mostly due to their habitat being threatened by people, but reticulated pythons aren’t helping.
According to a paper published by the National University of Singapore, a group of scientists did a study into predation on sun bears in Indonesian Borneo.
They found that a 23-foot reticulated python successfully killed and ate an adult female sun bear, although they did think the bear might have been a little underweight.
Admittedly, sun bears are the smallest true bear species. But they can still grow to 60 inches tall, which is about five feet tall. You wouldn’t want to tangle with one, but some retics have no fear.
Is a Reticulated Python a Good Pet?
Retics are great pets, but only for responsible, dedicated, and experienced owners. Ultimately, they’re a highly intelligent and demanding pet that needs attention and stimulation.
The fact that they get so long, and that they should be handled more often than other pet snakes, means that they’re only suitable if you think you can genuinely take care of one. It would be unfair to your retic if you bought one and left it locked up, on its own.