The reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus) is a python species native to South and Southeast Asia. It is the world’s longest snake, and listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List because of its wide distribution. In several countries in its range, it is hunted for its skin, for use in traditional medicine, and for sale as a pet.
The reticulated python has smooth dorsal scales that are arranged in 69–79 rows at midbody. Deep pits occur on four anterior upper labials, on two or three anterior lower labials, and on five or six posterior lower labials.
The reticulated python is the largest snake native to Asia. More than a thousand wild reticulated pythons in southern Sumatra were studied, and estimated to have a length range of 1.5 to 6.5 m (4.9 to 21.3 ft), and a weight range of 1 to 75 kg (2.2 to 165.3 lb). Reticulated pythons with lengths more than 6 m (19.7 ft) are rare, though according to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the only extant snake to regularly exceed that length. One of the largest scientifically measured specimens, from Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, was measured under anesthesia at 6.95 m (22.8 ft), and weighed 59 kg (130 lb) after not having eaten for nearly 3 months.
Increased popularity of the reticulated python in the pet trade is due largely to increased efforts in captive breeding and selectively bred mutations such as the “albino” and “tiger” strains. It can make a good captive, but keepers should have previous experience with large constrictors to ensure safety to both animal and keeper. Although its interactivity and beauty draws much attention, some feel it is unpredictable. It does not attack humans by nature, but will bite and possibly constrict if it feels threatened, or mistakes a hand for food. While not venomous, large pythons can inflict serious injuries, sometimes requiring stitches.