The Longest Reptile in the World, the Reticulated Python
The reticulated python is both the longest snake and the longest reptile in the world. However, they are not the heaviest snake in the world as the anaconda holds that title. They are usually found in the rain forests or marshes of south-eastern Asia, but due to their excellent swimming abilities, they have also made their way to several Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
Reticulated pythons usually grow to 16-23 feet in length, but some adults reach around 28 feet long. In length, they make every other snake and reptile look small. However, they are not as heavy as many of the other pythons and are easily out weighed by many of the large reptiles like crocodiles; large reticulated pythons only weigh about 300 pounds. While there have been reports of reticulated pythons that have been longer than 30 feet and heavier than 300 pounds, scientists believe that they are exaggerated. However, many zoology societies off a cash award to anyone who can capture and bring them one that is bigger than the norm.
Reticulated pythons are carnivores. Their diet includes mammals, birds and other reptiles. Medium sized adults that range in size from 14-18 feet long eat chickens, birds, rodents such as rabbits or rats, lizards, cats and even dogs. Large adults that are over 20 feet long feed on larger creatures like cows or water buffalo, pigs and boars, crocodiles, primates, and even sun bears. They have also been known to eat humans, particularly children or adult humans under six feet tall. Like all pythons, reticulated pythons are ambush predators and wait in the darkened shadows of the jungle or underwater to attack unsuspecting prey. They move very quickly and wrap their strong body around their prey before it even has a chance to defend itself; once the python wraps around their prey they suffocate and crush it.
Although wild reticulated pythons will eat humans, more human deaths are caused by pythons that are kept as pets than ones in the wild. Many areas of the world have laws against keeping dangerous exotic pets, but unfortunately, some people choose to ignore the laws. There are many snakes that are perfectly safe to have as a pet, but the reticulated python is not one, especially in a household with children or smaller sized adults.
The reticulated python is an amazingly beautiful snake that hunts without malice or prejudice. From rats, to water buffaloes, to man, it wraps them all in its powerful embrace and devours them whole. The largest reticulated python captured or killed by humans measured around 28 feet long, but who knows what size they may reach in the deepest darkest parts of the Asian jungles.