Big and very, very long
The longest snake in the world is the reticulated python which can be found in the humid rainforests and woodlands of Southeast Asia.
How big can it get?
The longest reticulated python currently in captivity is Medusa who is just over 8 metres (25 feet) in length. In 2004 claims were made that a 14 metre python had been found in the Philippines. Like many big snake claims this was exaggerated with the serpent actually measuring a far less staggering 7 metres. Meanwhile hatchling snakes measure in at just over half a metre, making them more than big enough to wrap around the waist of your average supermodel.
What does it eat?
Whatever it can get its jaws around, and with an elastic-like jaw – which opens to a 150 degree angle – that’s a lot of things. Its main diet includes mammals such as pigs and deer, as well as the occasional bird, although it is capable of feasting on much larger animals.
How does it hunt?
It is an ambush hunter that ordinarily operates at night. The snake coils up and lies in wait, only striking when an animal comes close enough. Its powerful jaws clamp down whilst it wraps its muscular body around the prey, squeezing (constricting) its life out.
How dangerous is it?
Stories of these pythons eating humans are often embellished, although some cases, usually involving children, have been recorded. Like most snakes, they’re unlikely to attack unless provoked, and many people choose to keep them as pets.
How many are left?
The reticulated python is common in Southeast Asia and not considered at risk. Deforestation though continues to impact their natural habitat.
The term reticulated refers to the net-like pattern that adorns the snake’s skin, which is perfect for camouflaging in the rainforest.