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Reticulated Python

Name Python reticulatus
Type Arboreal, Burrows/hides/likes water
Where am I from? South East Asia
Handle-ability Can be handled and well tamed
Length/size up to 16 to 20ft, heavy bodied snake
Suitable for Intermediate/advanced due to size
Life span Ave 20 years

Housing

Before buying a Reticulated python, it is essential to consider where and how you will house it when it is full grown. A very large often purpose built enclosure is often required, and needs to be able to with stand the strength of a large and powerful snake. You also need to consider how you will handle the snake when it’s larger. At least two, and possibly three capable people are needed to handle any snake over ten feet in length in case of accident. Smaller Retics can be housed in a vivarium with aspen or similar substrate. Your Retic will need somewhere to hide and bathe, even when adult.

Temperature

Proper temperature range is essential to keeping your snake healthy. The ambient air temperature throughout the enclosure must be maintained between 28-30C during the day, with a basking area kept at 32C. At night, the ambient air temperature may be allowed to drop,but ideally no lower than 23-24C. The background heat and basking spot in a large Retics vivarium will invariably need to be supplied by a guarded bulb or even more than one to provide a large enough basking area. Always make sure that bulbs are protected by a suitable thermostat to avoid burns to your snake. It is best to always check temperatures accurately with a digital thermometer.

Lighting

Reticulated pythons do not require any special lighting, or UVb light. Unless in a particularly dark room, most people keep their kings without lighting, but to allow better viewing lights can be used, and will be of no detriment to the snake, as long as they do not increase the ambient temperature too much. Any lights used should be guarded and on a thermostat.

Humidity

Reticulated pythons need a humidity of around 50-60%. Always provide a bowl of water large enough for your snake to bath in if it wants to. A quick spray of the vivarium every few days will probably keep humidity high enough.

Feeding

Reticulated pythons are carnivorous, and in the wild eat rodents, and other mammals, even up to goat sized animals. In captivity, they are usually fed whole rats and then rabbits as they grow of the appropriate size. Eventually big specimens will either require multiple rabbits, or items such as lambs and piglets.. An adult Reticulated python may only require feeding once every month. Juvenile Reticulated pythons should be fed weekly on appropriate sized rodents and the frequency of feeding dropped as they get bigger.

Breeding

Reticulated pythons are reasonably easy to breed in captivity, but this needs a lot of space and time, and is not to be undertaken lightly.

Buying Tips

Ask to handle the snake to gauge it's health and temperament. Baby Reticulated pythons can be fast and occasionally nippy, but they grow out of this with regular handling. Look for clear skin which is taught and firm, and smooth scales, clear bright eyes, and no faecal staining around the vent. A healthy Retic should move easily, have no clicking, wheeze or hiss when it breathes, and should not have a protruding spine.

Varieties

There are now various patterns or morphs of Reticulated python. These include Yellow Head, Calico, Albino, Tiger, Super Tiger, Jaguar and island forms.