Reticulated Pythons: The Power and Danger of the World's Longest Snake

14/03/2011 09:59

The reticulated python is known as the longest snake in the world. They can grow as long as 34 feet and weigh well over 300 pounds, even though they are known as thin snakes. The circumference of an adult can be up to 35 inches. They are named "reticulated" due to the distinctive pattern they carry, which is one of irregular diamond shapes. These snakes are native to the Asian continent and are very adaptive. They like to be near fresh water, so they often live close to ponds, but many of these creatures have been found in caves, forests, and even cities, feeding on domestic animals.

This variety of python has 100 teeth that curve to the inside of their mouth, that are used for biting and holding prey while their muscular length wraps around that prey and crushes the life out of them. They then swallow the meal in one gulp and digest it over several days to weeks. Their usual diet consists of medium sized prey such as large birds and rabbits but the larger sized ones actually eat small pigs and these monster snakes have even eaten humans in recent times. They need to eat only about once every 2 to 4 weeks as adult. The young ones eat small rodents weekly as they grow, quickly graduating to rabbits and then to pigs if feeding them in confinement.

A reticulated python is a magnificent and beautiful creature. Many people have tried to keep this snake as a pet, beginning when it is very young. Newborns are 2 foot long when hatched and immediately begin hunting independently, but they quickly grow. If the caregiver is not very familiar with the needs of a reptile of this size and variety, tragedy can occur. These snakes do take well to human handling, if started young, but it only takes one misunderstanding with it's 100 strong teeth to cause an injury that can be fatal to a person. Many sources warn not to interact or feed a snake of this size without someone else being in attendance in case something goes wrong.

The other mistake that is made by the owners of large snakes is not to secure the cage properly. Being strong and intelligent creatures, many large pythons have escaped enclosures and eaten family pets, or even small children. That is how many of the large reticulated pythons have found themselves donated to zoos and other wildlife refuges. They have grown so quickly that the novice human snake owner cannot handle them any longer. To safely and adequately care for a snake of this size you must understand it's natural habitat, growth rates, feeding schedules, safety measures, and also must have a space big enough to house a quickly growing 20-foot snake.

Reticulated pythons may become more rare in the wild one day, as humans hunt them for their skin and meat. The skin of this type of snake is in demand for furnishings, boots, belts, and many other accessories. In fact, the boots that Indiana Jones wore in the movies were made of reticulated python leather. These wonderful and powerful reptiles deserve respect from people and undoubtedly, a safe distance.

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