The Reticulated python is a nonvenomous snake native to South and Southeast Asia. It is the world's longest snake. The color pattern of these snakes is a complex geometric pattern that incorporates different colors. The back typically has a series of irregular diamond shapes flanked by smaller markings with light centers. In this species' wide geographic range, many variations of size, color, and markings commonly occur which form excellent camouflage and allows these snakes to fit into their surroundings. The most common colors include olive green, black, white, tan, yellow, gold and brown.
Reticulated pythons are found in South and Southeast Asia from the Nicobar Islands, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore, east through Indonesia and the Indo-Australian Archipelago (Sumatra, the Mentawai Islands, the Natuna Islands, Borneo, Sulawesi, Java, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, Timor, Maluku, Tanimbar Islands) and the Philippines (Basilan, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Polillo, Samar, Tawi-Tawi). They live in tropical rain forests, woodlands, and nearby grasslands. They are also associated with rivers and are found in areas with nearby streams and lakes. Reticulated pythons are excellent swimmers and have even been reported far out at sea and have consequently colonized many small islands within their range.
Reticulated pythons are solitary creatures and are active throughout the night. Adult pythons are terrestrial and are rarely seen in trees while juveniles spend their time both in trees and on the ground. Reticulated pythons are slow-moving snakes but are excellent swimmers. They can often be seen hanging around the bodies of water as they find it to be the best location for hunting their prey which comes to the water to drink. Reticulated pythons are ambush hunters, usually waiting until prey wanders within strike range before seizing it in their coils and killing by constriction. They are very aggressive creatures and if disturbed will make a hissing sound.
Reticulated pythons are carnivores. Their natural diet includes mammals and occasionally birds. Small pythons eat mainly rodents such as rats, whereas larger individuals switch to prey such as small Indian civet and binturong, primates, and pigs.
Reticulated pythons have a polyandrous mating system in which one female mates with more than one male in a single breeding season. These snakes mate between February and March. They are oviparous and females lay between 15-80 eggs per clutch. They lay their eggs on the ground and when the eggs are laid the female will then lay on the eggs to incubate them until they hatch. At an optimum incubation temperature of 31-32 °C (88-90 °F), the eggs take an average of 88 days to hatch. Hatchlings are at least 2 ft (61 cm) in length. They are independent at birth and reach reproductive maturity in the first 2-5 years.
Main threats to Reticulated pythons include hunting for their skin and for food, for use in traditional medicine, and for sale as a pet.
According to IUCN, the Reticulated python is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.
Reticulated pythons are often found near human habitation, where they perform a useful role in prey regulation amongst rodents.