Malayopython reticulatus

juvenile Reticulated Python Python reticulatus in Bangkok
Juvenile Reticulated Python found in tree in Phra Khanong

juvenile Reticulated Python Python reticulatus in tree
Juvenile Reticulated Python as found in tree.

Subadult Reticulated Python Python reticulatus in tree
Subadult Reticulated Python in Khao Phra Thaew (photo by http://khaophrathaew.org)

Reticulated Python Python Reticulatus
Three-meter long Reticulated Python in Singapore (photo by David Greonewoud)

reticulated python dusit district michael LaPalma
Reticulated Python in garage in Dusit District (photo by Michael LaPalma)

Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus) in bangkok eating chicken
Reticulated Python in Min Buri (photo by Peter via Andre)

Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus) in bangkok eating chicken
Regurgitating a chicken when captured (photo by Peter via Andre)

juvenile Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus) khao yai
Juvenile Reticulated Python crossing road in Khao Yai (photo by Bernard Dupont)

Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus) Khao Yai Randy Ciuros
Another Reticulated Python crossing road in Khao Yai (photo by Randy Ciuros)

Juvenile Reticulated Python Python reticulatus
Juvenile Reticulated Pythons for sale on Bangkok street

English name: Reticulated Python
Scientific name: Malayopython reticulatus (formerly Python reticulatus)
Thai name: Ngu Leuam

Description: To 1000cm long. The largest snake in Asia, and the longest snake in the entire world. Body is brown with a beautiful black, yellow, and white “reticulated” pattern that gives the snake its name. The head is mostly unmarked other than a black line along the top of the head between the eyes.

Similar Species: The Burmese Python has an arrow-like dark marking on the top of its head and rows of black-bordered dark brown blotches on its body.

Habitat: Found in a variety of habitats, including forest, scrubland, grassland, mangrove swamps, and agriculture. Often spends time near the edge of water bodies. Has adapted to urban areas and can even be found in the middle of Bangkok, where it appears to travel via canals. Comfortable in trees and is a strong swimmer.

Place in the ecosystem: Despite its enormous size, the Reticulated Python feeds mainly on rats in urban areas, helping to control Bangkok’s rodent population. The largest adults eat larger mammals (such as pigs, deer, cats, and dogs). Adult pythons have no predators in the Bangkok area, but the hatchlings can be eaten by monitors and large birds of prey.

Danger to humans: Though it does not have venom, the Reticulated Python can be a threat to humans on size alone. Even the juveniles are big enough to inflict a nasty bite with their large mouths and long teeth. Larger pythons could potentially constrict and suffocate a human. Care should be taken when going near a large python, and pythons over two meters long should not be handled except by those experienced with large snakes (preferably a team of at least two for any snake over three to four meters long). This being said, pythons rarely attack humans and very few fatalities have been credibly reported.

Conservation status and threats: The Reticulated Python is killed for its meat and skins and captured for the wildlife trade. It is listed in Cites Appendix II.

Interesting facts: The large scales lining the lips of the Reticulated Python contain heat-sensitive pits that allow the python to sense its warm-blooded prey in the dark.

A Reticulated Python found in 1912 on the island of Celebus in Indonesia measured 33 feet, 9 inches long and is the longest snake ever reported.

References:
Reptile Discovery: The Reticulated Python
Wikipedia: Python reticulatus
Ecology Asia: Reticulated Python
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry