Latin name: Python reticulatus
|Size||Mainland reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus reticulatus) are one of the world's largest snakes, with exceptional examples being recorded at 32 feet long and weighing in at 350 pounds. These specimens are exceptional and very rare, with the average adult size staying between 10 to 20 feet long. On the other hand, several wild populations of reticulated pythons have proven to reach much smaller adult sizes than the "mainland" varieties. These "dwarf" reticulated pythons (P. r. jampeanus, and P. r. saputrai) max out at 10 to 12 feet, and there are also "super dwarf" reticulated pythons that appear to max out at 6 to 8 feet in length.|
|Life Span||On average, reticulated pythons live 15 to 20 years, with some individual snakes reaching 25 or even 30 years of age|
|Diet||Frozen-thawed, appropriately sized rodents/rabbits warmed to room temperature.|
|Feeding||A good rule of thumb is to feed one prey item, of comparable girth to the thickest part of the snake's body, every 7 to 10 days. Reticulated pythons fed more often will grow faster and can reach greater lengths, but overfeeding snakes can cause health problems, as with any animal. No snake should be handled directly after a feed and should be left for a minimum of 24 hours.|
|Housing||Size - The most important aspect of housing is that it must safely contain the snake. Tight-fitting racks or strong enclosures with locks are a must. Baby reticulated pythons can be kept in shoebox-sized cages or 10 gallon terrariums. Adult reticulated pythons can be housed in 6-8ft x 3ft vivariums. Custom-built cages should be constructed of strong, waterproof materials for ease of cleaning.
Substrate - Newspaper, Aspen, Cypress Mulch or Corrugated Cardboard.
Habitat - Hide spots are a fundamental asset for all reptiles and are particularly effective for juvenile reticulated pythons. We recommend something tight fitting but with an entrance large enough for the animal to enter and exit easily.
Temperature - Temperatures should range from 76° Fahrenheit on the cool side to 92° as a hotspot. To achieve these temperatures several heating devices can be used such as:-
Lighting - Snakes need a photo period light cycle; provide 8–12 hours of light daily; do not leave white light on at all times; to view snakes at night use a black or infrared light.
Water - A large water dish should be available at all times, constructed of dishwasher-safe or easily sanitised materials, and it should be heavy enough to not be easily tipped over. The water dish does not need to be large enough for your snake to soak in, though reticulated pythons can be soaked for a few hours in a separate container or a bathtub once they begin shedding to ease the removal of shed skin.
Do not house different species of reptiles together.
|Handling & Temperament||Baby reticulated pythons can be nervous about having giant predatory animals (such as humans) around them all the time and may hiss or even strike, but with gentle daily handling they become quite confident.
Acclimated reticulated pythons have a strong feeding response, so expect that whenever you open the enclosure they will be interested in food. Everyone handles this differently, but the basic idea is the same; before you reach toward your snake with your hand take the time to show the snake that it's not being fed. We use a newspaper, which will not hurt the snake's teeth if it bites it. Pat the snake on top of its head until it moves away and is no longer looking for a target to strike at and eat. Once this happens, we simply pick the snake up by hand. Once they're out of their enclosures, our reticulated pythons are usually very receptive to handling.
When dealing with any large snake it is wise to have a second experienced handler present and keep the animal's head pointed away from you and others at all times, especially if you're handling an easily spooked animal.
|Grooming & Hygiene||Snakes will regularly shed their skin; if old pieces of skin remain after shedding, mist the snake and gently rub off the old skin.
Because all snakes are potential carriers of infectious diseases and salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your snake and/or the habitat contents to help prevent the potential of spread of diseases.
Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing and/or caring for a snake.
|Signs of a Healthy Animal||
|Common Health Issues||
|Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the above sources or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.|