The Best Way to Look After a Reticulated Python

Reticulated python on a man's arm.

Reticulated pythons are among the world's biggest pet snakes. Although they are not suitable for novice reptile enthusiasts or youngsters, some experienced herpetologists choose to keep them as pets. Reticulated pythons are native to Southeast Asia and can grow to be exceedingly long and heavy, as well as survive for two or three decades. Knowing what sort of care they require as pets is critical to ensuring their longevity and the safety of you and your family.

Species Overview

Common Name(s): Reticulated python

Scientific Name: Malayopython reticulatus (but also known as Python reticulatus)

Adult Size: Over 16 feet

Life Expectancy: Over 20 years


Reticulated Python Behavior and Temperament 

Reticulated pythons are not cuddly pets; they may coil around a person and suffocate them if not handled carefully, although they can be handled by numerous people if required. These snakes, which may weigh over 200 pounds, are normally slow moving, spending the majority of their time resting or waiting for prey. Reticulated pythons usually live on the ground, however they may love swimming in surrounding bodies of water. Because they are tough to handle on a regular basis, they are commonly characterized as aggressive snakes.

Housing the Reticulated Python

A conventional snake terrarium will not suffice since mature reticulated pythons are exceedingly huge. Reticulated pythons require a huge, specialized cage measuring around two feet wide by three feet tall by eight feet long, as well as a small bedroom or walk-in closet. At all times, a hide box or log of some form should be provided in the enclosure. The safety of these enormous snakes is paramount; they are extremely powerful and may easily escape from a weakly constructed enclosure. To guarantee that your reticulated python does not escape its enclosure, latches or locks should be placed on all lids and doors.

Spot cleaning is important after your snake sheds or eliminates, but monthly complete cleanings are recommended to keep your cage clean. This complete breakdown of the enclosure will aid in the prevention of debris and microbial build-up. Some individuals like to clean half of their cage at a time while keeping their reticulated python in the other half. If you're inside the cage, it's a good idea to have someone keep an eye on your snake. Because you won't be paying attention to what your snake is doing, having someone else keep an eye on the space while you're near it can help avoid any unintentional injuries or your snake fleeing.

Heat

Reticulated pythons are found in rainforests but do not require high temperatures. During the day, give a basking area that is 90-92 degrees, with a temperature gradient of around 75 degrees on the cool side of the cage. A heat light or ceramic heat bulb is great for achieving these temperatures, but make sure your snake does not come into contact with the bulb or fixture, otherwise thermal burns may occur. Place thermometers throughout the enclosure to verify that no areas are overly hot or cold.

If you use a white heat light to give heat, you will also be providing light for your reticulated python; but, if you use another sort of bulb, you will still need to supply a source of white light. To reduce stress and imitate a natural environment, a 12-hour day and night cycle is required. Make sure your snake can't get to the white light, just like it can't get to the heat light.

Humidity

Humidity levels in reticulated python cages should be between 50 and 70 percent. Unless you have a humidity hide box, your enclosure's hygrometer should register closer to 70% during shedding. If the humidity level is too high, mold and bacteria will grow more quickly, putting your snake at danger of skin illnesses and mouth rot.

Substrate

A bioactive soil, newspaper, aspen wood shavings, cypress mulch, or cardboard should be used as a substrate or bedding for your reticulated python. Cleaning more natural areas will be more challenging. You may want to use an economical and easy to replace material like newspaper for the bottom of the enclosure depending on your degree of commitment, money involved, and time available to clean out the enclosure every month.

Food and Water

In captivity, chickens, rabbits, and rats are frequent prey items given to full-grown reticulated pythons. Your snake's prey should be the same size as the broadest part of its body and provided every one to two weeks. Overfeeding can be harmful to your health, but neither can underfeeding. Make sure your snake's spine does not protrude from the skin. If you lightly push on your snake's body, you should be able to feel the spine, but the body should seem circular.

Finally, a large container of water should be available at all times to suit your snake's complete body or even allow it to swim. This will not only help to maintain humidity in the cage, but it will also give a place for your snake to soak, swim, and defecate.

Common Health Problems

Mouth rot, parasites, wounds from live prey, respiratory troubles from cold enclosures, bacterial and fungal infections, retained shed, and impaction are all typical health concerns for reticulated pythons, just like they are for other snakes. Maintaining an adequate temperature and humidity for your snake will help prevent these and other health issues.

Choosing Your Reticulated Python

Make sure any reptile you buy is a captive bred (cb) pet rather than a wild captured one. Look for symptoms of disease, as well as fragments of reclaimed skin from an old shed, around the vent, eyes, and mouth. It's possible that the snake isn't healthy if it has nasal or oral discharge or abnormalities on its face, eyes, or skin.

When you've discovered a healthy snake to buy, ask the breeder or pet store what kind of food it's consuming right now and when it last ate. If they don't know, look for a different seller who can supply you with this crucial information. Depending on the size and morph of the snake, expect to pay anywhere from $175 to $14,500, if not more, for a reticulated python. The larger the snake and the more exotic the colors and patterns, the higher the price.

Similar Species to Reticulated Pythons

If you’re interested in other pet snakes, check out:

  • Burmese Python Species Profile
  • Boa Constrictor Species Profile
  • Red Tail Boa Species Profile

Otherwise, check out other types of that can be your new pet!

CITATION

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